Family Ties

Yesterday I talked about how.... Well, ok, I mostly complained.

But at the end, I tried to redeem myself by telling you how wonderful my extended family is.

And they truly are wonderful. I have great family on both sides.

What I think is amazing about being related to people, is that you are like them. You belong to a tribe. Even if you don't really know your extended family, still, the chances that you guys think things through the same way, react the same way, look the same way, are high.

When you have kids, you look at them as a reflection of you. That newborn baby has the ability to give you the same smile as your husband or squint at you the same way you look disapprovingly at others. :) In a moment, they can go from looking like your side of the family to his. From the spitting image of your grandmother to the frightening reflection of his brother.

I always say that to others my children look like whoever they know best between Zach and I.

Stella, looks exactly like my sister-in-law Kylee. They could so easily be mother/daughter. That is my opinion knowing both sides of the family.

However, people who only know me tell me she is basically my reflection.

I love getting those compliments because rarely do I get told any of my kids look like me.

Scarlett is her Uncle Ernie's child. His nose. His complexion. His mischievousness. And there's not much speculation there. We all chalk up her to Uncle Aaron and his wedding day toast in which he hoped Zach and I would have at least one child exactly like him and Rob.



And Stryker too. Has Aaron's big old lips. But to me, he could so easily be his Uncle Ryan. In fact, over Thanksgiving, I stepped out of the bathroom staring at a picture that I wondered when my mother-in-law took Stryker to get done. Realizing much to late that it wasn't Stryker, it was a baby picture of Ryan.

But if you know Robbie, you would say that Stryker looks exactly like him.

Likeness doesn't stop with immediate family however. It flows effortlessly into that extended family on both sides.

We say, from one angle the child looks like a Moon(my mom's side.) and they turn their head and suddenly they're a Cloyd(my dad's side.)

When Stella was born. Oh my Stella.... When Stella was born, they held her up so I could see, before giving her to me and I burst into tears. I am not proud of this moment by the way.

But I did not see my beautiful first born baby girl.

I saw a 10lb 3oz version of my Uncle John who was this giant trucker! It was terrifying. I kept apologizing to Zach, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, she looks like my Uncle John!!!!!!

My Uncle John was my dad's oldest brother and he passed away when I was in sixth grade, so Zach had NO idea who he was, but it didn't matter, nobody wants their baby girl to look like someone's dead uncle!

Oh Stella.... My sister-in-laws asked if she was really our baby when they came up to visit.

And when I shared this horrifying fact with the rest of my Dad's side of the family, my cousins all looked at me and laughed. And then shared that it happened to all of them! Apparently, my Uncle's last joke on his family was to send them little spitting images of him in the delivery room.

It's quite jarring. I'm not going to lie.

We don't just share little baby John's running around though. I don't think there are people I relate more to in life than my cousins. They completely get me. They understand that you eat dessert first, that your enormous boobs catch all of your spilled food, that you do not run, that you are most of the time laid up with back pain, that you laugh at inappropriate jokes until you cry, that everybody is after you, especially if you are alone, you absolutely need to be looking over your shoulder every other second, that talking around the dinner table is the best pastime, and that panic attacks are not a sign of weakness, but in fact, a genetic disorder that we must all suffer through together.

Growing up, as I told you yesterday, I am younger than all of them. Also, I had the joy of working through an especially awkward junior high and high school phase, in which we didn't figure out my hair was curly until the end of my sophomore year.

Can you imagine?

So there I am growing up, trying to figure out exactly who I am and I am surrounded by the most beautiful cousins any girl has ever had.

This is a true fact.

I just remember family reunions, (These are huge and regular affairs for my family. Some might say Dad's side of the family is obsessed with geology, but to us it's all normal behavior.), looking at my cousins and thinking they are the prettiest girls I have ever seen and I will NEVER look like them. Dana, Suzie, Shelly, Yvonne, Bobbie Jo and Jen. And they all had this shiny, flowing hair and were always so trendy. Meanwhile, I kept my hair in a ponytail and worked through a tomboy phase. It was so not pretty!

My dad had Four Brothers. And I kind of remember them as like this on going James Dean movie, in where there are four James Deans and they start out in Rebel without a Cause, but instead of dying, and believe me, it wasn't because they weren't trying to be as reckless as possible.... they go off to Vietnam and then live gloriously and fashionably through the 70's in California and then get married and have kids and spread out across the country. I will have to download some pictures because they are the quintessential time-period photos that influence like movies and stuff.

Anyway, they four boys had the roughest childhood. It was a mess. And they became the bestest of friends through it all.

Not that they never fought. (ha.) Or stopped talking to each other, even as grown adults. But that they had to survive together. And by that, I don't mean, just make it, I mean actually struggle to survive.

So, when they became adults, my dad made family the most important thing. And I grew up meeting my Uncle John at midnight because he was a trucker passing through Omaha and my dad wanted to see him, so he would drag my brother and me along and we would sleep in the booth while they laughed and talked for hours. To this day I feel at home in a truck stop.

Or spending time with my Uncle Bill in Colorado, surrounded by the mountains and watching him smoke and driving these tiny model cars around that were the perfect size for kids but absolutely forbidden as toys. To this day, the smell of smoke is comforting me.

Or driving out to California to see my dad's youngest brother, my Uncle Bob, and his three girls. Uncle Bob was my favorite uncle growing up.

And he is kind of like that last remaining link to my dad.

But he is the most fun uncle any child could want. And he knew how to get under my dad's skin just enough to get my dad cussing him, while Robbie and I died laughing.

And I really connected with his family. My Aunt Helen is one of my most favorite people in the whole world. She is also hilarious. Some of my best memories of my childhood are of my Aunt Helen, my Aunt Sylvia and my dad telling stories and laughing until I didn't even know what was so funny, but they were crying from whatever it was.

They have three girls. Yvonne, who is the best mother and greatest Aunt. And all I want in my life, is to live close to them so that my kids can go to her house and be spoiled rotten by her and taught how to bake beautiful things and swim in her pool.

Bobbi Jo, who I was convinced when I was a kid was the prettiest, most fashionable girl I had ever seen. She has this really sweet voice too, that she never raises and I still think that is the way ladies are supposed to sound. Meanwhile, I am like the loudest, most obnoxious talker ever! She is gorgeous and is a wonderful wife and mother.

And then there is Jen. Who is like my kindred spirit in the family. She is, first of all, hilarious. And paranoid. Which I absolutely love about her, because, well, mainly I don't feel alone! And she puts her beautiful family first the same way her sisters do, which I am positive is a trait they learned from their mother. She is also, so darn creative that I can hardly stand it. So I just look at her Facebook pictures of things she's made and pretend I am proud of her and not boiling with jealousy! :)

These are the sisters that everybody dreams about. When I wish I had a sister, I wish it was one of these girls. They don't fight. I don't think they ever fought. They only love. And they love each other the most. They have these beautiful relationships that I think everyone would be envious of. They are the reason I am so excited for the rest of Zach and my siblings to have kids because I cannot wait to be an Aunt like these ladies are for their nieces and nephews. Their children just kind of revolve through their three households, so that every parent gets time off and time with their beloved nieces and nephews. It's how family should be.

We've been talking about a trip to California this year. I am dying to see all of them. And get Zach out there. I just know he would have so much fun with Jonny, Jeremy and Alan. And he loves my Uncle Bob too.

And I want to take the kids to Disney Land.

But basically, just spend time with that family.

I love them.

So today. I am asking for prayer. My cousin, Bobbi Jo, is in surgery right now. She has been having trouble breathing for a few months and they diagnosed her with Pneumonia and put her on two doses of antibiotics twice, but so far nothing has worked. Just this last week, they did more ct scans to see what they could find and instead of fluid on the lungs, they found a mass in her lungs. So they are biopsying the mass, thinking it started in her breast and spread into her lung. They are hoping it is benign.

But please pray for her. And her family. She isn't on any medicine now and she won't be until they figure out what is going on. She is having such a hard time breathing that she is on oxygen, which is helping, but it's probably scary for her kids.

If you could pray for miraculous healing and that whatever is going on could be diagnosed correctly and quickly, so that they can start treatment, whatever that may be.

Pray for my family too. For my Aunt and Uncle and Cousins. This has been very hard on them, and very shocking. It was decided just Monday that they would do surgery and so there hasn't been a whole lot of time to prepare emotionally for this.

We are hoping and praying for benign, like I said.

But regardless, this is scary. And prayers would be so appreciated.

Thank you so much.


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