Final Fridays with Cousin Mars – Family Ties

cousin mars on black bridal bliss

Recently I loaded up my SUV with my sister’s two children, wife, golf club set, roller-blades, and several pieces of luggage. After everyone got comfortable, the journey to North Carolina’s Outer Banks began. Approximately eleven hours later, we arrived safely.

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Give a man a fish & you feed him for a day;…

Prior to getting married, I was definitely aware of the in-law dynamic. I can admit now that somehow I believed that in-laws only consisted of parents, siblings, and the children of siblings. My wife and I each established healthy relationships with each other’s mother early during the courting period. Possibly due to losing her father as an adolescent, my wife has a bro-dad. Bro-dad is the term I use to respectfully acknowledge the role her brother played and continues to play in my spouse’s life. Nothing new yet, right?

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Each one teach one, right?

This is when the learning started for me. Minutes after reaching our destination, my eight year old niece and six year old nephew walked into a large home in a state they had never visited. Also worth mentioning, they had never been this far from home. Already in the house were the other nine children – ranging from six years old through seventeen – that would help teach me several lessons over the next few days. None of the children inside the home had ever met the niece and nephew that had accompanied me on this trip. It wasn’t until I started to unload my truck that I thought about how intimidating this experience could be for these two children that just concluded the longest road trip of their lives. Then I remembered back almost two years ago – I got married. Which means WE’RE FAMILY. This isn’t like the first day of school and you’re about to meet a bunch of strangers. This is simply family you’re meeting for the first time. Imagine my smile once I realized that before I removed all of the bags from the vehicle, the kids had commenced conversing and playing as if they lived next door to each other. My grin was as bright as a 1,000 watt bulb and I released a hearty sigh. In that moment, driving all night and most of the morning seemed totally worth it all. I saw another glimpse revealing my ever evolving definition of marriage.

La Familia

La Familia

The picture above serves as another reminder that marriage should be viewed as much more than a legal document recognizing a relationship between two adults. Each of my nieces, nephews, godchildren, and surrogate children now have several new uncles, aunts, and cousins. These new family members are able to offer guidance and share experiences – some of which are much different from any previously exposed to them.

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The BOND is real!

Today’s Final Fridays post is simply about me continuing to learn about marriage and all of it’s intricacies. Truth be told, constantly learning how deep marriage can be is fascinating. My intention was to expose my niece and nephew to new things. Though I succeeded with that endeavor, an even bigger feat was achieved – I once again learned that I have a lot to learn about this journey, known by many as marriage. Matrimony has played a critical role in my continuing effort to peel back the many layers of unaddressed family issues. Spending a week with kids that only wanted love and positive attention helped put many things in perspective for me. I’m seeing the world through slightly different lenses these days.

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    Comments

    1. Beautiful!

    2. idismith says:

      This sounds as if it was “the road trip to…heaven.
      as a man who reads newspapers and watches tv, (need i say) i have been lead to believe that black families/communities are being crushed by the weight of its own citizens. this is another kind of story, one about love, responsibility and future.
      our best future.
      more please.
      thank you mars

    3. Being in the midst of my immediately family is always a joy to me but, this year’s vacation at the Outer Banks was just special to me in so many ways. My sister and brother-in-law have done this for years, from Carolina Beach, to Hilton Head to Disney World and other places and I have tagged alone when the kids were small but to see how my grandchildren, great nieces and nephews have grown up make me realized how blessed I really am, and my son-in-law’s niece and nephew wanted to know if they could call me grandma
      just added icing to the cake. Anthony you are a jewel………..

    4. Bridgette Bridgette says:

      What Shawna said.

      (This post made me way too emotional to respond any other way without writing a novel.)

      Mars: TB — all ways and always.

    5. Reading idismith’s comments bought tears to my eyes again (tears of Joy) because he summed it all up so beautifully.

    6. Tanishia says:

      Beautiful! *tears*

    7. Marilyn says:

      I don’t if it’s because of allergies or this article and comments, but my eyes are a bit glossy now.

    8. Shawna M says:

      See the world through children’s eyes can, help us realize the truths of many things around us that we don’t always consider. Great read!

    9. SpikesDtr says:

      The unexamined life is not worth living because life is beautiful in all its many layers. God bless close, loving families, they make all the difference.

    10. I too became very emotional each of the 4 times I read this. That neice and nephew are still talking about this infamous family vacation, naming cousins by name laughing at things they shared with family, it’s heart warming and you uncle Mars are the bomb!!

    11. Just2Prissy says:

      Good Morning,
      I reallllly enjoyed reading this. For someone who is dating a guy that his family has welcomed me and my son with loving arms not just his mom and dad, but the aunts as well. I could never figure out a cool word to call , my big brother, who always tells the stories of taking care of me as a baby and still over protected of me still to this dad. He is definitely my Brodad
      Thanks again. I lovvvvvvvvvvve your blog and the various segments.

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