Even if you’ve only read one single blog post in my series since its inception in July of 2010, it should be obvious that I have a lot of love for my over-sized family. I grew up in Huntington Woods — a teeny tiny suburb of Detroit — with cousins by the dozens. Every Shabbat — for as long as I can remember — my Great Aunt and Uncle have been hosting dinner for as few as 10, and as many as 100 relatives. Jewish holidays are held between houses — the first night there, the second at my house, or my cousin Diane’s — and for an equally long time, my parents have hosted the not-at-all religious Fourth of July barbecue before the annual Huntington Woods Fireworks.
My favorite Fourth of July was when my family had a float called Dozen of Cousins. Part of the family sat in a car, while the others marched around the float, tossing out candy, and celebrating our close-knit bond in the city we call home.
Now, years later, I will not be present at the 2012 celebration . . . and it didn’t really bother me until talking to my brother tonight. He was driving to my cousin Diane’s house to see family in town from Israel, and ran into my little cousin Ben, who insisted on speaking to me when he heard that I was on the line. I always fear that my little cousins — 10 years and under especially — might not remember me now that I’ve moved away, so the fact that he wanted to talk to me for a second, really reassured me that our family bond is still strong.
My Fourth of July will be spent somewhere in New York, watching some sort of firework production, but it will never replace the soft spot I have for the Huntington Woods pyrotechnic display above Rackham Golf Course.