Each of my uncles and aunt spoke at the memorial, all saying wonderful things about Grampa. By the end most of us were at least a bit misty-eyed. Afterwards we all went to Marcie's, where we grandkids got to indulge in one of my favorite parts of these gatherings-- sitting around with my mom and aunts and uncles, listening to them tell stories about their lives growing up-- Uncle John eating dog poop; Uncle Greg getting lost for 2 hours in Atlantic City and finally being found by some nuns who managed to return him to the family; Uncle Mike being left behind at the pool, climbing the wall just in time to see them all drive off. Sports games played, sibling rivalries that can now be joked about, shared old friends that hadn't been thought about in ages. Grammy spoke of one of her most treasured moments, when Uncle John graduated from the University of Texas business school, and she'd sent the president (of the school or department, I'm not sure which) to let him know that he'd be the 6th of 7 children to graduate from UT. And then at the graduation itself, the person reading out the names paused at John's to mention this same fact and pointed to them all sitting up in the stands, where the family got a standing ovation (at the time Mom, the oldest, was the only one not to have gone to UT as they moved to Texas after her college years, but she later got a masters degree there after we moved back to the states, and so Grammy and Grampa have proudly boasted of their 7 children all to have graduated from that university).
It's crazy to see my cousins, whom we used to see about once a year but since moving to California has been more sporadic and so suddenly I see them now and have to ask Mom which one is which because they look so different. My oldest cousin is 4 or 5 years younger than my younger sister, and I tend to think of them as being little kids but one of them is about to start her last year at Columbia and the others are rapidly following suit. They all LOVED Donovan and had such a great time playing with him, and he loved them in return never seeming overwhelmed by the attention but instead just laughing and running around absorbing it all like a pro.