Cousins by the Dozens

My mother, Beatrice, was one of 14 children. Ten of the children married and had children and their children have had children and even some of their children have had children. It goes without saying, Lin and I have beaucoup cousins. Unfortunately, we don't get to see them often … funerals seem to be the usual occasion for get-togethers lately … not the best venue for cousin fun and merriment. We thought we'd like to change it a bit this year. Three of Bea's sisters are still living and visiting them seemed like a wonderful way to share my mom's spirit this Christmas and perhaps catch up with some cousins, too. lacoste family portrait

It was too late to plan anything very formal, but we were hoping to get as many cousins together as possible for a Cousins' Christmas. We ended up doing it on two separate days. Truth be told, Lin and I didn't have to do much in the Coordination Department. Cousin Mark handled the Connery side of the clan in Clinton, Massachusetts. Aunt Jeannette had seven kids. They all married and they have kids (and yes, some of their kids have kids.) I don't even know most of the second or third cousins. Keeping track of the first cousins has always been a challenge unto itself. I believe “herding cats” was the chore at hand for Mark, but he managed remarkably well. The one-hour drive to Clinton was filled with sisters singing Christmas carols and admiring the new snowfall on the evergreens. After a delightful visit with our 90-year-old auntie, we descended upon cousin Theresa's home for a cousin reunion and brunch. We ate and drank and kibbitzed the day away. There was no dearth of conversation, nor old stories nor laughter.

Cousin Maelee is the go-to cousin for getting folks together and spreading the word throughout the other families and she did an incredible job of getting in touch and gathering the clan. The next day, we headed to Aunt Bette's house. She's now the matriarch of the family and her house is a good gathering spot for family. At 91, she still lives alone in the same house she's lived in for over 70 years  years in Oxford, Massachusetts. She was beaming when we arrived. She's always been social and having crowds of family in her tiny house seemed to delight her. There were cousins everywhere. Aunt Vickie, the baby girl of the Lacoste family at age 84, managed a visit despite recouping from heart issues earlier this year. Once again, eating and drinking intermingled joyfully with hugging, reminiscing, joking, and unbridled laughter. We did cousin stuff and we did it loudly and with much gusto. Absolute cousin bedlam ensued … it was outstanding. In the photo, that's Aunt Vickie at center left and Aunt Bette on the right. David and Nikki … thanks for the pic.

cousins christmas

I don't remember having seen this many cousins since I was a little girl and our grandmother celebrated her 75th birthday at a grand family reunion at my aunt's farm. I'd forgotten how wonderful cousins can be. All from the same stock; all branches from the same family tree; all a part of me and me, a part of them. We parted with promises to stay in touch and get together soon. Maybe we will; maybe we won't; but these past two days have been a highlight of my Christmas season. Thanks, cousins!

We're posting this on Christmas Eve and though we're apart, David and I are together in spirit (and via Skype several times a day!!). We wish you all a very happy holiday.