I have a huge extended family! My parents had 5 and 6 siblings, respectively. And they all have had children and grandchildren and great grandchildren…. there are A LOT of us, but sadly we mostly get together now at funerals. I’d like to say weddings too, but even then many have other pressing commitments, so the funerals are where we get together.

I have two wonderful, amazing aunts (my dad’s sisters) who in their young 80’s are active and fun and all over Facebook, keeping up with all their kids. I TRY to get to see them every summer ( sadly sometimes a summer gets away from me), but with one in Illinois and one in Kansas, that can happen.

I LOVE spending time with them, I always learn something new about my family and I feel close to my dad when I’m with them. He was their little brother and they adored him and they share that with me often.

I’m here in Illinois right now because my mom’s last sister just passed this week. She was quite a bit younger than my mom (8 years) so growing up she was hipper and cooler in my eyes than my ancient mom.

When I would come to Illinois in the summers from whatever Air Force base we were stationed at, we would stay part of the time at my mom’s parents and part of the time sat my dad’s parents and part of the time at my aunts, who for a lot of my childhood lived on a farm. Aunt Vicky’s was always the best adventure! I learned to bale hay (and learned to hate baling hay), I learned how to burn in a burn barrel, I learned the difference between hay and stray when feeding the cows, I learned to snap beans with the neighbor ladies, I named all the cows, I learned waaaay to much about inseminating cows…. There were dogs and cats, horses and cows, an old farm house, a horse barn across the road filled with boarded horses. It was a place so far out in the country I should’ve been bored, but there was no time to be bored!

Well this past week my Aunt Vicky, my mom’s little sister, passed away at the age of 68. I last saw my aunt a couple of years ago, she happened to be in Illinois as we were passing through, so we met her and her kids and grand kids for dinner. And then later that year at my uncles birthday celebration after he passed. I’m so glad I had that opportunity now. Of all 7 children on my mom’s family, only 1 brother remains, and because they live so far away, I haven’t seen him since the 90’s.

I treasure the fact that the internet allows me to stay here n contact with my family, to see the things going on in my Aunts and cousins lives that I might now otherwise know if. I have second and third cousins (however that works) whom I have never even met, but I ‘know’ them because we are on Facebook together. And we follow each other’s lives and keep up with one another. Thank you to the World Wide Web!

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