Fam­ily ties

Mem­o­ries of Christ­mases with her cousins are re­called by the BBC Look East pre­sen­ter

EDP Norfolk - - Inside -

OUR DAUGH­TER re­cently had to do a “life map” for a school project, show­ing the events and the peo­ple that have been most im­por­tant in her life so far. One of the things she was adamant about in­clud­ing was Christ­mas - be­cause it makes her so happy. She didn’t mean ma­te­ri­al­is­ti­cally, but emo­tion­ally.

When I was grow­ing up, we used to have mas­sive fam­ily Christ­mases. My par­ents ran a board­ing school, so there were plenty of beds, and we used to have up to 30 re­la­tions stay­ing for a few nights. Those bonds forged with the fam­ily over my child­hood have stayed, even though we are spread out across the coun­try - and the world.

This year one of my younger cousins got mar­ried - a won­der­ful chance to re­unite with the ex­tended fam­ily. My niece took a photo of four of us cousins to­gether at the re­cep­tion. It was only a quick snap, but I love it. I grew up with these girls. We went on child­hood hol­i­days to­gether, we put on plays at Christ­mas, we re­mem­ber each other’s tri­als and tribu­la­tions at school. And here we all are, in our 40s, with dif­fer­ent tri­als and tribu­la­tions - but still car­ing and sup­port­ing each other.

Now our chil­dren ben­e­fit from those bonds. They have a whole net­work of ex­tended fam­ily mem­bers who are in­vested in them and will al­ways be there to help if need be. None of

“Those bonds forged with the fam­ily over my child­hood have stayed, even though we are spread out across the coun­try - and the world”

us can host the huge Christ­mas sleep­overs we used to have, but peo­ple still travel long dis­tances to see each other - even if it’s just for a long lunch.

First and fore­most, Christ­mas is a re­li­gious cel­e­bra­tion – that goes with­out say­ing. But it is also a way for us to show our love for each other - through presents, food or even shared laugh­ter at the TV. Noth­ing beats the love of your fam­ily. It def­i­nitely war­rants a place on any life map!

Above: Susie Fowler-Watt and her cousins

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