Have you ever met someone and they have a BILLION People in their family? And introductions at family events are something like this:
"This is my oldest brother, Arty, and his wife, Nellie, and their kids Ethan and Josie, but Ethan's dad was actually Nellie's first wife, Bill, who passed away 2 years ago, who was actually Arty's first college roommate and their dog - Neptune (point to dog) was bred by cousin Hamish. Now, Hamish is away in Afghanistan but his girlfirend, Tessa, always comes to stuff like these because we're pretty sure they're going to get married. And Aunt Jeanie here - - looks like she brought Abby! Abby is Jeanie's adopted daughter from Guatemala." ---Interjection---"Didn't I already meet Abby?" ---"Oh nooo! Haha, no no you met Allie, who was actually just Aunt Jeanie's foster daughter. It's so crazy, i know, but Allie was with Jeanie for like four and half years but her mom sobered up and got custody back! Isn't that great?! Now...uncle Luigi...."
And it goes on and on?
Well that's not really the case with my family. There are my parents, my sister, her husband, and me and my husband. My dad has one sister and three kids. She's divorced so I have a half-uncle and one of her three kids is married (or will be this Saturday.) My mom has 2 siblings - a brother with a wife and no kids, and a sister who is also divorced with two unmarried children.
1st Cousins: 5
Uncles: 1 and two halves
That's pretty easy.
But every summer of my life, my family goes to Maine. And THAT'S where it gets intense.
The history of how my dad's side of the family got into Maine in the first place is a doozie in and of itself. Then there is the history of how it was built (started in 1964, $2000 for the structure of it, walls were just wood studs and sheets for a number of years, only ran cold water, no fridge, shelves willy nilly on the walls, didn't even put cabinets in until grandma's best friend died in 1979 and left money for cabinets, walls, carpets, etc.) And then there is the history of the STUFF.
This was from Polish great-grandparent's candy shop, but the hooks are from their BARBER shop, and this is grandma's father's carving, and this was grandpa's bookshelf in college, and that table was from Rose (cue best friend from 1979) and this chair was actually MOM'S grandpa's chair, but then the rod-iron tools were made by great-uncle John the blacksmith from New Jersey, but THIS tool - the fire poker - was made by cousin Bob, whereas the old comics, bobble-head dolls, and vintage Boston Red Socks pennants were dad's when he was a kid. Now the bed frame's are from great-grandpa Chuck's boy's camp and the table and chairs are from grandpa's high school and the couch was from a house (half) uncle Eddie bought - he thought we could use it - and the bell was from the one-room schoolhouse in Moffatsville where great grandma Minnie was from, and the hutch and bed-side table are genuine arts-and-crafts style furniture from great-grandparent's house in the 1920s.
I love coming to Maine for all of those things.
But, I submit, it's much more complicated than family dynamics :)
And I'm glad the husband and brother-in-law have taken to it so quickly.