by Betty Owens
May is the month we normally celebrate mothers. So we thought it would be a great time for us to discuss families and children at the Writing Prompts blog. I grew up in a large family. Well, my immediate family held only five members–I was the girl in the middle of two brothers–but we had seven first cousins and . . . well, Dad’s family might need a little explanation.
My paternal grandmother, Ada, married at age fourteen. Her husband Fred was only seventeen. Because of their youth, Fred and Ada lived with his family for a while. And because of her youth, his brothers and sisters became like brothers and sisters to her. A few years after their marriage, Grandma’s little brother Sam married Fred’s younger sister Lona.
Fred and Ada’s children and Sam and Lona’s children would be double first cousins. There were nine cousins between the two families, and they grew up like one big family. And of course, they all looked alike. You couldn’t always tell who were the brothers and sisters, and who were the cousins.
So, along comes the next generation. I had seven first cousins, and five more double-first-cousins once removed. There were more, but the first ones were the closest to all of us in age. We all grew up together, and shared a lot of family dinners. Because of this, I count myself very blessed.
Among all those original siblings were many fine examples of how to live, how to love, how to serve God. And what is most important in life—family. I had four mamas. Dad’s two sisters, Aunt Jen and Aunt Fran, Aunt Edna, who was married to Dad’s brother, and my mom. All of the cousins spent time in each other’s homes. We all knew we were loved.
As we aged, the love seemed to grow, and though we could no longer spend quite as much time in each other’s households, reunions and family dinners were just like old times. Lots of hugs and kisses and laughter. Happy memories abounded. I think we’re pretty special. I just wish I lived close enough, so my children could benefit more from the extended families.
Facebook brings us all back together again. Though miles separate us, we can share the ups and the downs, the births and deaths. The joy and sorrow. The love and accolades, prayer requests, and encouraging words. I’ve watched my cousins’ children and grandchildren grow. Now there are a few great-grands thrown in the mix. Hard to believe so much time has passed.
The happiest of all moments—when we realize our shared faith. You see, we all had a granny who prayed like nobody’s business. She called us all by name, and believed in faith for our eventual salvation. She died at the age of 96, and by the way—she was the head of the household that welcomed my fourteen-year-old grandma.
What about you? Are you part of a closely-knit, loving family? Or do you keep close to home with your own spouse and children, unconnected with extended family members?
Are you a single parent, or married with no children? In Psalm 68:6, the Bible says, “God sets the solitary in families…” I believe it’s possible to have a family, whether they’re blood-related or not. Aunt Fran—one of my Dad’s sisters—had no children of her own. But she had many who grew up loving her like a mama, because she loved so well, and treated us as she would her own.
In my writing, my byline, “Love is the Legacy,” is a direct result of having grown up in a big, loving family. If not for that sure foundation of love and acceptance, I would not be here today.
I hope you’ll stop back by during the month and join the conversation about families and children.
Writing Prompt: Our family reunion began well, but near the end of the day…