[This is my pre-apology for poorly sized photos. Better too big than too small, I say.]
My grandmother is one of nine Fallin brothers and sisters. This makes my mom the youngest of twenty-three cousins. Not just extended family. Cousins. First cousins. And, since all these cousins came to be, every bride in the family gets a coveted Kinfolk Shower. It also serves as an all-female family reunion.
It's loud. It's fun. There's great food. It's very Fallin.
[That's banana pudding in a jar]
I sat there opening gifts in the midst of more conversations than there were people in the room. You see, we have a unique talent of being in multiple conversations at one time. It's genetic.
For an afternoon, I had the privilege of being surrounded by familiar faces [and not just because I look like a lot of them], cousins I didn't even know I had, the newest additions to the family, and the one's with the most years to share.
There were a couple of especially memorable moments that afternoon. One includes a very loud alarm, two fire trucks, and an emergency response vehicle. They finally decided that the one zillion degree weather set off the heat sensor. But a couple of the husbands speculated that it was due to a house full of Fallins and, subsequently, a lot of hot air.
The other happened mid-gift opening. One of my mom's cousins thought I would appreciate having something of her mother's, my great aunt, who passed away two winters ago. Appreciate would never come close to how much I treasure that beautiful, cut-glass dish. All of a sudden, I wasn't laughing at pairs of sisters picking on one another. I was headed straight to the ugly cry.
See? Ugly. It's OK to agree.
After that, it seems that salad plates and skillets and flatware weren't quite as important. Don't get me wrong - we're so grateful for everything. I was just more interested in soaking up time with these exemplary families and preparing to carry on the God-fearing, people-loving, loud-talking, good-food-cooking traditions.