My mother has 9 brothers and sisters. From them, I have over 60 first cousins and 50 second cousins. Being that my family was either living in Europe or on the opposite U.S. coast, I didn’t have much interaction with my extended family growing up In fact, I first met the majority of my relatives at my grandmother’s memorial service in Seattle nearly 8 years ago. They welcomed me with open, loving arms. They fed me. They housed me. They shared their personal stories, photos and memories with me. These people were my blood, and it sadly took the tragedy of my grandmother’s passing to introduce us to one another.
Last month, I was reunited with a handful of my relatives and family but thankfully for a much happier occasion: to celebrate Trina’s wedding to Dwight. So much time had passed since we last saw one another that even my own nieces and nephews had no clue who I was or that I even existed. The last time I saw any of my brother’s children, they were pretty much all newborns or just learning how to walk. Now these babies were all grown up, talking and being very inquisitive, wondering how I knew each of their names, ages and what costumes they each sported this past Halloween. In fact, most of them knew that they were in town for “a girl named Trina’s” wedding, but none of them remembered or knew that Trina was their aunt and their father’s sister. It was the absolute cutest thing when they finally put everything together and figured out that we were all related.
Trina and Dwight’s sunset wedding was gorgeous.
One of the many highlights of the evening was my Uncle Mikuli’s (mom’s second youngest brother) toast. As he welcomed Dwight to the family, he placed an emphasis on the value of family citing how many traveled from New Zealand, Samoa and all over the world just to be there. He then introduced the money dance, an island tradition at Samoan weddings. Despite my sister’s wedding being very non-traditional, it was a welcome homage to my family’s roots, a souvenir of the past and a reminder to always remember the importance of family.
fam·i·ly fam(ə)lē noun: where life begins and love never ends
[Fun Fact: I’ve been told by numerous cousins that my siblings and I are the most “Americanized” of the family, and that we even speak with slight Southern accents. (?!)]
Congratulations again Dwight and Katrina!
“Faded” by Bear Mountain… the latest ‘PRESS REPEAT’ song on Spotify!