When I promised to have and to hold, to love and to cherish my husband it never occurred to me that I wasn't just making that promise to my husband but to every member in his family.
I hadn't quite realized at that stage in the game that I wasn't just marrying Boo but I was in fact hitching myself to his entire family.
Luckily for me, his family happened to be my kind of people.
A cousin's motor home. They rolled in and small children screamed.
It felt just like being at home.
Family reunions are a novel concept to me. My side of the family tree just doesn't get together unless someone is about to be buried. Even then we don't get together without whining about having to see long lost relatives. I've got cousins I've never even met and couldn't identify out of a line up.
Boo's family actually know each other and for the most part they seem to like one another.
It was like being in the twilight zone only with more beer and hugs.
It was interesting to watch my husband's family interact with one another. No one was swearing, there were no fistfights and no cops were called. I kept hearing this weird unidentifiable sound and I was shocked to learn it was laughter.
Suddenly, I was Dorothy and I wasn't in Kansas anymore.
I somehow found myself strapped to a board spilling a bucket of water all over myself. Because what says family bonding more than mocking and laughing at your relatives as they prove they make arses of themselves in games of sport?
There was a rousing game of pass the baby, the object being who could snag the newest member of the family and hold her the longest. Sadly, I didn't win this game but not for trying. This family is apparently filled with baby-hungry women whose uteruses ached slightly with each quiet coo and sweet smile the chubby child would bestow.
It was Jumby's first reunion since joining our family and he too, made his mark. Literally. He bit my boob three times and my neck twice.
Of course, no reunion would be complete without having to try and explain what exactly it is that I do for a living. I quickly gave up trying to explain what a blogger was and how I made any money and went with the old standby:
"I write about my boobs and the pay is pretty good."
Of course, right about then my husband would roll his eyes and wish for a sock to stuff in my mouth.
There were moments my heart would crack and my breath would stop. Moments when I looked around and noticed how the children had all grown, and how there are new children. I couldn't stop but wonder what my Bug would look like now if he were still alive. Family events like these tend to make Boo and I misty eyed for the boy who once was.
Still, the joy outweighed the sadness and a good time was had by all. As I sat and watched the generations of this family mingle and laugh as they reminisced and created new memories, I was struck by how glad I am to be able to give this gift of family to my children.
They learned this weekend their roots run deep and they are surrounded by people who will always share this moment in time with them.
They may have also learned that their mother is gullible and easily tricked into being whacked on the head with a wooden spoon.
Which, of course, explains the stunned look on my face in our family picture. My brains were still rattling.
Darn in-laws. They'll get you every time when you aren't looking.