I am blessed to come from a very large, extended family. My mother has six siblings. Combined, these seven have 23 children. Those 23 have had 20 children of their own. Then, of course, there are all of my great-aunts and uncles (my grandmother’s siblings) and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We are one very large tribe.
The last time we gathered as a whole family was to celebrate my grandmother’s 80th birthday. There were so many of us—children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, third cousins, and in-laws—that we couldn’t fit into a single photograph. So, we took seven pictures—one of grandmother with each of her children and their descendants. Even breaking it up this way, some of the photos had a whole lot of people in them.
Although I enjoyed being without a car for the last three years, time with my very large family was one of the causalities. I’m the only person who lives in DC. If I want to visit my cousins in Manassas (VA) or my uncle in Forestville (MD), I either had to get a ride or rent a car. The same applied when I wanted to see my mom in New Jersey or my grandmother in the Bronx. It is possible to take public transportation to each of these places, but the journey is not direct and takes several hours longer than a simple car ride.
Plus, public transportation doesn’t provide door-to-door service. Someone would have to come get me from the bus or train station to drive me the final bit of the way. Over the last few years, it was just easier—and a lot less expensive—to stay home, even though I missed out on some family gatherings.
In the seven weeks since I bought Blue Annie (my convertible MINI Cooper), I have visited my mother and godmother and attended a six-year-old’s birthday party. This weekend, I am heading back to New York to have Easter dinner with my grandmother—and squeeze in another visit with my mom and godmother.
I bought the car primarily for business use. My school clients are all over DC, and driving is the most efficient way to get from one site to the next. It’s also easier to run errands and place my purchases in the trunk instead of balancing bags on bicycle handlebars. But the greatest and most unexpected blessing of my new car is the extra time that I get to spend with my loved ones.
As you count your blessings this weekend, be sure to look for the unexpected ones that have come your way—and then give thanks.
One aunt and all her people at the birthday party
Crystal Moore began her wellness quest in 2003 after being diagnosed with lupus. Her quest has led her to embrace yoga, faith, exercise, healthy eating, and relationships. Share her journey.