I didn’t grow up with an extended family around me so it’s particularly lovely to see our kids appreciating theirs.
My parents migrated to the UK from Malaysia before I was born. So although I have a large number of aunts, uncles and cousins back there, I can count on my fingers the number of times I have seen them. And it’s only in recent years with the advent of social media that we have had any form of regular contact or updates beyond Christmas cards and once-a-year phone calls.
Heather’s mother was one of four sisters all living in Dorset and the kids have at least developed some degree of relationship with their great-aunt Diane. Great-aunt by name, great by nature. We visited on our way home from our holiday in Weymouth last week. Kara’s outgoing nature means she is all smiles and open to a cuddle most of the time anyway. But even the normally reticent Toby was all too happy to snuggle up on the sofa for a communal cuddle. And I was happy too to have captured the moment for posterity.
Growing up, I don’t think I ever realised the benefits of having an extended family around you. You don’t miss something if it was never there, right? Seeing our children appreciate their broader family network doesn’t make me regret what I didn’t have – but it does make me appreciate what they have that little bit more, especially in moments like this.