I just got back yesterday from a week half way across the country.  My grandfather, who was a month and a half shy of his one-hundred and second birthday (let's repeat that for the cheap seats, 102!), died last week and I headed out there to say one last goodbye to him.

This is me:

These are my awesome cousins:

Some of them at least.

One was taking the picture and I think one was pouting because HE found the giant stash of Grandpa's weird, orange glasses and he didn't end up with a pair to wear in the photo.  But I think that's maybe okay because now there's no evidence of him in a photograph looking like part of a Bono tribute band to be used as blackmail later when he runs for public office.

Here are some more of my awesome cousins:

I won't mention their names because some of them might be wanted by the law not want to see their names on the interweb, but here we are sitting around Grandpa's grave a few hours after the service when everyone else had gone home, just his grandchildren, laughing and telling crazy stories for hours.  This might go down as one of my all-time favorite family memories. There's a wife in there, but I think she counts as an awesome cousin too because, well, she's awesome and I like the idea of being related to awesome people, so I count her. 

There are ten of us in all if you don't count spouses and significant others and I think if you scoured the world looking for a variety of personality types, you couldn't find ten more different people to stand up in a line.  Some of us are religious.  Some aren't.  Some have kids.  Some don't.  Some live in large cities.  Some in small towns.  We are each living very different lives and we have all moved far away from the fertile crescent from which we originally came (bet you're surprised to learn that the fertile crescent is not, in point of fact, Mesopotamia, but rather a small town in Idaho).  We came together last week from Washington, California, Montana, Idaho, Minnesota, D.C.... there was one in New Hampshire for awhile, so all we needed was someone to move to Florida and we could literally call it the four corners of the country.

Our family and it's extended members have what you might call "issues" sometimes.  I know every family has them. Sometimes I get caught up in and focus on those and what I fail to remember, until there's a funeral and we are all forced to be in the same town for a bit, is how cool each and every one of my cousins really is and how much I like them.  I'm not at all good with family dramas and am only too happy to stay out of it whenever humanly possible.  But then I also miss out on these guys - who despite differences in life situation, opinions, beliefs and personality, all manage to put those family issues aside, have fun and be downright awesome to each other. (Notice: NO Oxford comma there.)

And that's pretty awesome.