Our family is small. HH’s parents are gone. So are mine. I have two sisters…sorry, one now…I’m not used to saying that. My younger sister died a little over a week ago. Neither of them married. HH has one brother. He married, but he and Stephen had no children before they separated. We have two daughters, but my younger and her husband decided against children, too. My older has two boys, grown now, and one of them recently married. But that’s it. If we have a “big” family get-together, there are only eight people.
My aunts and uncles are all gone. So are HH’s. We have cousins scattered somewhere but haven’t kept in touch. At my grandson’s wedding, the “groom’s” side of the room was filled with lots of family friends, but hardly any family. We shake our heads once in a while at our puny size, but we make up for it in how much we care about each other.
When HH and I first got married, it was easy to fill our house with over twenty people with our parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Not any more. But in the books I write, families are important cores of the stories, even if in Muddy River, “families” are supernaturals who came together to escape being hunted and bonded to protect themselves.
Jazzi, in her series, invites her family and a few chosen friends to her house every Sunday for a family meal. Each week, they get together to stay in touch and catch up on each others’ lives. When HH and I first got married, my dad insisted that we take turns cooking suppers with them every Thursday night. Mom cooked one week. I cooked the next. He told us that if we didn’t, it got easier and easier to drift apart. We were happy to see Mom and Dad and my two sisters every Thursday. The only problem? I’d never learned to cook. I had to plan ahead when it was my turn so that they’d have something edible.
Both sides of my family had reunions once a year. So did one side of HH’s family. We met uncles and aunts we only slightly knew and cousins we only talked to occasionally. There are no more reunions for either of us. Not any of my friends attend any either. Maybe reunions got too hard to do when families moved farther and farther apart.
In my Lux series, Lux was an only child, and she lost both of her parents soon after she graduated from college. But the Johnson family “adopted” her, and she grew so close to them that she moved to Summit City when the four oldest Johnson siblings moved there. They’re the family she never had. In the second Lux book that I’m working on now, even her beloved Cook moves to be close to her.
Family isn’t always the people who share your bloodline. Sometimes, when you move to a new city, they’re the people who share your heart. In all three of my new series, family plays a big part in the storylines. Probably because it’s so important to me. What about you? Are you close to your families? Do you still have reunions?
Whatever you’re working on, happy writing!