I have family everywhere. Sometimes, when I view wireless provider coverage maps, I wonder what a color-coded map of my extended family throughout the United States might look like.
When I made the decision to move to New York, there was a small sliver of comfort in the fact that my cousins in New York were a short train, bus, or taxi ride across the 59th Street Bridge.
In addition to my maternal extended in New York (mostly concentrated to the Upper East Side), I am fortunate enough to have a bit of ultra extended (ie: my sister’s in-laws) family a little further west in New Jersey.
Often times, I’m too quick to judge those who live in Jersey — perhaps Bravo, MTV, and TLC have exploited too many many fist-pumps, hair-poofs, and Soprano-esque table flips, earning the state a bad reputation.
To set the record straight, though, I find Jersey — Parsippany, anyways — to be a beautiful place, and the ultra extended family I have there, is truly wonderful.
Two weekends ago, my parents flew in from Michigan to celebrate my brother-in-law’s mother’s parents’ anniversary and his grandmother’s birthday. The after-work schlep was less-than appealing, but the opportunity to see my sister, brother-in-law, and my parents, and to have a good laugh with the Alberts family was an invitation I simply couldn’t pass up.
Dave, my brother-in-law, is a quirky guy, and he makes my sister beam with happiness. To understand his quirk, you have to know his roots. His father and mother are a hysterical duo — truly funny and fun to be around. Their hospitality when I first moved, and throughout the course of my readjustment to the East Coast has been extremely sweet, and reminds me so much of my close-knit family back home. Spending Saturday and Sunday with his family, and especially with his very adorable and funny grandparents, I’ve come to realize that family has no boundaries, and extended family is still just that: family.