This past weekend we attended to a destination wedding in South Padre Island, TX. One of my cousins on my dad’s side was getting married so family and friends got together to celebrate. My dad flew up to San Antonio and then we drove down for the weekend. This was a chance for me and my kid to “meet” my dad’s side of the family, cousins I knew I had but had never met before, or so I thought.
I have told you before how we ended up in Texas. Husband and I lived in California, but one day he thought we should move to Texas, and we did. I had already uprooted myself when we got married, and now he was uprooting himself and we started making a life in a very neutral San Antonio, TX. Then the kid came along, and our only “family” in town were the friends we made along the way. Of course my family visited, and we went to California to visit, but it’s not the same as having your extended family in town.
After husband passed away, I decided we would remain in San Antonio. We did move to what I called “the transition house” while we figured out our spot in the world. We got adopted by the same family that lived across the street from our house when I was little, and almost all of them are living here in San Antonio, so the kid and I were not so lonely anymore. We would get together often so the kid immediately found uncles and aunts and cousins with our adoptive family.
As the kid started kindergarten and as family events at school kept coming up, it started to get a little challenging for him to get why the two of us were by ourselves in this town. We both got frustrated with the reality and the bottom line has been we are here by ourselves and that’s the end of it. There were no grandparents available for “bring your grandparent to school day”. There was no dad for “pizza with dad day”, etc, etc. The kid would cry about it, and I felt he was missing something and all these family things at school were making it worse.
The kid has gotten used to our reality though. It took us a while, but he has understood that some people just don’t have their whole family in town or even together. The kid now looks forward to spending time with our adoptive family and we both love that. I grew up with visiting my grandparents every weekend and playing with my cousins while the parents talked and whatnot. My parents try to come as often as they can and that helps a lot, and after Thanksgiving the kid and I are flying to California to surprise his grandma and spend time with our family there.
So during this past weekend, we spent most of our time in the pool, and the kid got to meet and play with some of his cousins and aunts and uncles. It was nice to spend time figuring out whose daughter or son some were, pulling out the genealogy tree from my dad’s brain. Of course all the kids were a bit shy compared to us adults, but it was a lot of fun to reconnect with people that actually share our DNA.
We also realized that some of them live here in San Antonio! So we do have actual relatives here in town! We’re so not leaving our adoptive family at all, but we have family my kid is actually related to. One of my cousins is moving with her family down to San Antonio next year, so now my kid will have 3 little cousins to play with. I believe it’s an important component in every kid’s upbringing to have that feeling that they are connected to a family, as in you’re not just a stick, you’re part of a branch of a huge tree.
Some people can exist by themselves without any actual relatives around and make up their world with the people and friends they meet. That was actually what husband and I did, and we were alright like that. I think that gets challenging when you start having kids. I don’t think little kids care that much, but once mine started kindergarten and started seeing his friend’s grandma at the library or having lunch with them or his other friend’s grandpa doing this, or his friend’s dad doing something else, that he started caring and asking and questioning more and more.
For now the kid is alright, he doesn’t feel like he has that family thing missing anymore. He is happy to spend time with family and then he is happy to be back to just the two of us. This weekend he got to meet more of my side of the family and understand that there is a whole line of cousins and aunts and uncles he has and that he belongs to. He hugged and talked to almost all of them. I saw how independent and how confident he is, and he seems to be a lot more social than I am! This kid really enjoyed the weekend! We had an amazing time during this past weekend with our family, and we are both looking forward to getting together with our family soon!