Family events of any kind tend to make me slightly melancholy. With funerals it is expected, but even weddings and reunions can effect me this way. They always leave me with a bittersweet feeling. I think this is mostly due to my placement in the extended family birth order. See, I am the youngest cousin on both my mother and father's side of the family. The age difference is as much as 23 years on my father's side and 21 years on my mothers. My closest first cousins are 4, 8 and 10 years older than I am. My own brothers are 13 and 15 years older.
Having several cousins old enough to be your parents makes you appreciate the times you do have together, but also speaks to the fact that you won't have as much time together. If I attain the ripe age of 85, it is unlikely many of my first cousins, or my brothers for that matter, will be there to celebrate with me.
This rather begs the question; How much do I really have in common with these people anyway? After all, some of us grew up in different generations! Amazingly enough, I find having a relationship with them very easy. That tie our parents and grandparents had is enough to put us on the same page. Shared stories and memories of our ancestors, this also helps us to bond in a way that is much deeper than my relationship with my first cousins child, who is only a few months older than me.
Family has always been extremely important to me, and this latest family event only serves to strengthen my resolve. Time is short and precious on this earth, and I don't want to waste any of it. I think I need to plan some short road trips and spend a little more time with these very important people!