My brother Stephen got married over the weekend and as with any wedding it was a pretty joyous event - but most of all I was so proud to see my kid brother get married. If any two people should be married, it’s him and his now wife Meredith. They have a beautiful child and  I am so lucky to finally be an uncle. The best part of the day though is getting the entire family together.
Our family might be better suited to have a flow chart instead of a family tree - there are a bunch of us and the phrase “this is my cousin” is repeated nearly on loop when introducing someone new to the family. Like many families in the Albany area we are a pretty close bunch and we’re very proud of that. When I lived in Arizona people I knew out there were shocked that I regularly talked to my cousins and that we actually were friends. To them it was so foreign and awkward. Can you imagine that? It’s terribly sad and they have no idea what they are missing out on. I moved back here because my family is here and as much as I loved living in the warm Southwest far more than the chilly Northeast - I learned it’s not where you are but who you’re with.

Family is so very special and important- and this wedding was particularly joyous after losing the rock of our family last fall. Our Uncle John sadly died suddenly and it shook all of us. He was the one in the family who you could always call for advice, and he was always smiling - always. He was also the official person to get a bear hug from in the family. He loved all of us very much and the feeling was always mutual. It’s never easy losing someone but it’s especially hard when they are the rock on which everyone depends. Having a wedding is so healing and such a needed recovery from such a hard time.

Besides the wedding itself, one of the greatest things we get from such an event is a renewed sense of family and a call to get together more often. Somehow these joyous events happen at the right pacing in our family, just as we’re forgetting to all get together regularly. Family matters so much for so many reasons but most of all because if anyone should always have your back, it’s them. We may have our disagreements but at the end of the day we’re all related - that is what counts the most; so we figure out a way make everything work - and that’s why we can get through ANY tragedy and then be able to turn around and celebrate our happier days with confidence.

I am so very proud to be a part of the family I’m in - and it’s nice to add some new members too over the weekend. I hope you take a moment today to reflect on how amazing the power of a family (no matter what size) is. Congrats to Stephen and Meredith too! Love you guys!