You know the old saying, “it takes a village?” Well, in our house, it really does take a village.

When I met my husband 15 years ago in college, I knew a little about his family as his brother and a couple of cousins were in College Station at the same time as us. What I didn’t realize was just how big his family was. I quickly learned at my first family event — his cousin’s wedding. My in-laws are one of six children in each of their families. Therefore, there are many branches in my husband’s family tree.

I came from a small family. There were only nine of us total; we didn’t take up much room. I had always wanted to be part of something bigger, and that’s exactly what I got when I married into this wonderfully large Polish “army” (that’s what we like to call ourselves).

There is a core group of us that have banded together. We’re so close we raise each others’ children as our own.

We travel together; the kids play sports together, some live a few houses down from each other, while the others are in very close proximity. We established “Sunday Funday” many years ago, and it has stuck all this time. The kids are old enough now that they sometimes plan our Sunday Funday get-togethers. I hope our children continue this as they get older, and the thought of spending time with your family becomes lame.

We are all opposites and come from different backgrounds. However, I think that’s what makes us so strong and unique. We trade war stories from work, school, life in general, and have a bond that can’t be broken. We’ve added friends along the way, and they too will jump in when someone needs help, or show up when someone’s kid is playing a big game.

In the summers, you can usually find us by the pool, with a potluck meal, and while we quickly establish our dominance in the water with “adult swim.” It’s fun to see the kids scrambling while they’re hollering “last one out, first one in!”

It’s these little traditions that make our village so much fun. Most of us have travel trailers, and the ones that don’t will bunk with the other. We love nothing more than a weekend where the kids can ride bikes, maybe next to a river or the beach and enjoy the fellowship.

I recently read an article that talked about these kinds of things are a growing trend, which warms my heart and almost seems a bit nostalgic. I know that my Dad would always talk about his childhood, the families that grew up together, and the wonderful memories they created.

I hope that we are setting a good example for our children and that they one day have a village of their own, and hopefully invite us over once in a while to continue this wonderful tradition with their families.

It truly does make life a little sweeter, knowing that we can count on each other no matter what we’re facing and make some great memories along the way.

Elizabeth Engelhardt is the publisher for the Seguin Gazette. Her column runs every other week. You can e-mail her at .

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