Odd but true: I have a bunch of relatives I’ve never met before. Cousins and uncles. I couldn’t even tell you their names or where they live, but it’s somewhere in Australia (and both lots could live on opposite sides of the country for all I know).
I’d like to think it’s not completely weird, because there are something like 10 siblings on my paternal side. And at least I’m pretty sure I’ve met all the ones who reside in Malaysia. What IS weird for me is the fact that our extended family isn’t close at all, and weren’t even when we still lived there. It makes me a little sad that my kids won’t grow up with heaps of cousins to play with. T’s nieces will be way older than our kids, although his younger brothers – and mine, I guess – might come through 😛
Hopefully they’ll get to grow up alongside my friends’ offspring (although that is an incredibly strange thought. I wonder how us all getting married and procreating one day will change things?) If they don’t have a big, loud extended family, it’d be nice if they at least had friends who were like part of the family.*
* Something I, again, never had. Is my bitterness really obvious?
If it makes you feel any better, I have relatives in China, Hong Kong and Australia that I barely know either. I don’t even know their names or who’s who. Heck! I got family in Toronto that I don’t know. Like I know we’re related but I have no idea how or why. ^___^;
Growing up, my Dad’s brother lived less than five minutes from our house with his family (wife and three kids) and I think we maybe saw them once a year. I saw a couple of them a few years ago, and that was the first time in probably ten years and I haven’t seen them since. On the other hand, I saw my Mom’s family on a pretty regular basis even though we’re spread out across the province/country. Family is strange.
I think more important than family is the family you build for yourself, like you’re talking about – your friends and their kids. My parents had a group of close friends and they were like extended family growing up, a whole bunch more aunt and uncle type people who to this day are invested in my life and care about me, and are important to me too.