I may have mentioned this before, but: I come from a large family, on both sides. My father’s family is larger — he is one of seven children, six of whom are still alive. They married and had children (I have 17 first cousins), and most of their children have married and/or have had children.
Most of us live in Pittsburgh. And when there’s an event (First Holy Communion, high school graduation), we get to have a party.
Sunday, my family of 5 went to a party to celebrate a first communion. It was quite an afternoon.
Generally, the clan gets together about once a year at Seven Springs. Which means last time many of these people saw Michael he was an infant.
Most of them exclaimed over how much he’s grown. He now is walking, has hair, and is eating real food (quite a bit of it, actually). My Aunt N is especially in love with M, and she couldn’t believe how “her baby” is getting so big.
M took it all in stride. He was, surprisingly, not too clingy, and Dan and I couldn’t help bragging on him a little. He really is a happy, charming, pleasant little man, and he proved us true to our word on Sunday.
Flora brought BB to the party, where apparently he found a friend.
Flora also brought a couple of books.
This was me at nearly every family event. Sitting off to the side with a book. I always said my hellos, and was quiet and polite, and when I could, I slipped away to another world. And then said my thank yous and good-byes.
I don’t think it’s a bad way to be.
Kate, on the other hand, was the life of the party.
Here are comments my middle child elicited from others on Sunday:
“She’s certainly very outgoing!”
“She has a lot of energy, doesn’t she?”
“She’s got a delightful personality.”
“She’s so full of life.”
And, over and over again, from various people: “I love Kate!” Said enthusiastically and with much affection.
Let’s understand, that I, too, love Kate — and Michael and Flora — and would willingly lay down my life for them.
But I wonder if some of the comments I get about Kate stem from admiration for Dan and me for resisting the urge to duct tape her to the nearest piece of furniture after the fifteenth time we’ve peeled her off of someone, or are said with the knowledge that the person expressing his or her love and affection is relieved that she isn’t going home with them.
Either way, I probably shouldn’t fret. After all, one of the most beautiful things about coming from a large family is learning to love and accept all kinds of different personalities, from the loud and physically affectionate to the quiet bookworms.
As a side note: I shouldn’t have worried about entertaining BB. The journal that the kids filled out was full of prosaic activities that they did with the bear: shopping, reading, watching a movie, going to church. I didn’t see him on a Kennywood ride anywhere.
We went to the park and the library, baked cupcakes and took him to a family event. Flora ended her journal entry on Sunday with, “BB had a lot of fun.” And you know what? I think he did.