Every two years the entire population of the western states arrive in throngs to our land. They pitch tents and set up camp stoves and turn their car-bound-for-too-long youngsters loose to run up and down tree house stairs and to chase each other.
I was adopted but somehow I manage to have the same toes and some of my cousins, the same dorky sense of humor, and the same commitment to connection. We are a tight-knit bunch and if you were adopted into our ginormous bunch of aunts and uncles and cousins, you'd get to join in our our 5 day tent city and play with us.
You could sit in the crowd at the family talent show. But don't get too comfortable because it would be your turn next. Would you sing in perfect harmony with your brother or would you show us how many pull ups you can do hanging from your towering cousin's big arm? Maybe you'd plunk out a duet with someone three times your age and you'd both have a blast.
You could make stone cairns along the riverwalk and loose to Eric's precarious tower he whipped up in his spare time while telling jokes with one eye tied behind his back. (You could also learn about all the "candy lions" all puffed up and ready to blow into the wind from a certain little 4 year old wild boy.)
You could lead an 8 car caravan through the redwoods and your heart would skip a beat when you caught a glimpse in your mirror because you'd remember that those cars are all full of people you love more than a fist could squeeze and they are all here. Really here.
And when it was all over - when the land got all quiet again and everyone went back home, including the little black-haired nephew who has stolen your heart more than once (a million times) - you could take a late night shower in the outdoor shower all lit up by little white lights that they all used and you could cry because you love them all so much. You could. It might help keep your heart from ripping in half with loveache.
You could if you were anything like me.