christmas with the extended family

over break i didnt post much, so ill try and catch up. friday dec 23: i slept in (this was a recurring theme through out the whole vacation time) and finally got my but moving to drive up to michigan. arrived about 15 minutes before the big family get together, so i had to rush over and quick wrap the gift for my cousin. it went well. i always love getting together with that side of the family. although i usually feel a bit awkward or uncomfortable with them. im not entirely sure what it is. growing up my cousins and i were always able to get along great, we would often get together in the summers and go swimming, or ride bikes, or other things kids do when they go out and play. but for the past 8 or 9 years it has always felt strange to me.
well, heres the thing, almost all of my cousins (about 15 or so) never left. they finished high school, called it quits, and started working construction. or those that did go to college stayed close. but i didnt. i left, i went far away to iowa for college, and then i didnt come back to live. i guess i shouldnt really be too surprised that i dont feel like i really fit in. i often keep to myself during these get-togethers (which, if you know me, is quite unusual). over the past couple years ive been getting better at it. i figured this year would go well because i was going to challenge myself to make an effort to talk to everyone.
and it was better. except that it was worse. i noticed a change in my cousins that i didnt expect- they grew up. i realized that just about all my cousins are married now, most of them with children too. dang, when did this happen?!? i knew they were married and i remember the birth announcements, but i just hit me that night. i realized that they were moving on to that next step of life. thats what was so jarring that night, the discovery that my cousins, even the ones younger than me, have passed me by. im not saying that i envy them, i knew my life was going to be a bit different when i chose to leave for college and then move further away to start my career, but its just a bit shocking to see just how those decisions have changed who i am and where i am in my journey.

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