UNITED STATES—Family is a tricky thing to say the least. I’d like to think I have a big family, both on my mother’s side, as well as my father’s side. Recently, I had a gathering with relatives on my dad’s side. I’ll be the first to admit I had a surmountable level of anxiety and I didn’t know why. I feel like if I don’t see family members in eons I tend to get nervous around them instead of staying composed.

I mean these are uncles, aunts and cousins that I haven’t seen in years, and I mean years. What is strange is that growing up, I used to spend weekends all the time hanging out with my cousins, but we seemed to drift apart once my parents got divorced. I would run into my cousins on occasion, but we never truly ‘got together’ like we did in the past.

Growing up it was a tradition on my dad’s side to have family reunions every other year to reunite the family, stay bonded and meet new members of the family that we hadn’t met before. So who would have guessed that a wedding reception would be the one place that we’d all gather and reminisce about old times, new times and future plans?

We had conversations that were never ending. The biggest thing we all kept discussing was the fact that we used to be so little and now we’re all grown adults, most of us with families or big careers. Life has sure changed since we were in grade and middle school. I will point out alcoholism is quite bad on both my mother and father’s side of the family; because of that fact I’m quite careful with drinking. It’s not that I can’t control my liquor, I’ve just come to realize that you can still have a good time without getting so drunk you barely recall what happened.

We took massive photos with our phones; it was like we all wanted to take a piece of each other as a souvenir. To make things even sweeter, we all gathered later that night to celebrate, to rekindle old times and make plans to not lose touch. That is something that totally made my day. The fact that we realized we needed to stay in touch with one another. Yes, I’ll admit, I’m super bad when it comes to social media.

I just don’t understand how one can spend hours on Facebook and Twitter when the day is full of so much chaos (not in a bad way). For the sake of family, I am willing to make a sacrifice. I mean I saw cousins that I haven’t seen in close to 15 years: that’s crazy right? What was expected to be a night on the town, simply manifested to a group of cousins getting together and discussing how great our childhood was, discussing the trials and tribulations of the workforce, not to mention for many of us the burgeoning expansion of our families?

I can’t believe that I’ve gone this long without connecting with family (first cousins by the way); a major void was missing. I tell this to people time and time again: you can’t choose your family, but it’s imperative that you stay connected with them. You never know when you might need them or when they might need you.