Opinion: One big (happy!) family


It’s official! I now have 30 – 30 – nieces and nephews! In a year that has been mostly full of downs, I got a rare “up” last week when my new godson arrived, complete with a cap of gorgeous red hair (either I was destined to be his fairy godmother or he’s my dad reincarnated!). I’m now past the point where I remember everyone’s birthday and middle name, but I love the fact that I am part of a huge family. Sure, it’s often crazy and frustrating and overwhelming (don’t get me started on holidays), but it’s also exciting and reassuring and sometimes exactly what you need.

I have four siblings, and my husband, Doo, has five. We all have children, and though we’re scattered across the U.S., most of us are here in the Midwest. Astonishingly, we get along. It’s true! I count my in-laws as some of my best friends and my kids say the same thing about many of their cousins. Even my 22-year-old man-child will happily spend an afternoon with his preschool “cuz” building Lego’s or playing hide-and-go-seek. It’s absolutely adorable.

I can’t tell you how much joy I have found in laughing with my sisters, even as our father lost his battle with cancer, or how a weekend with Doo’s clan provided a much-needed distraction from the realities of COVID-19. Surrounding myself with those who know how to make me smile, who don’t care if I look terrible (whenever I shun eyeliner), and who only in extreme circumstances violate my “no hug” rule, is what gets me through hard times.

And those people are now officially “one louder!”

Peace out.