We're heading down to Windsor today. For my cousin's funeral. And for Alan's family's Christmas in February dinner.
Which, no surprise, has me thinking of family. And why they mean so much to us.
It's not because you can say they're always there for you. They often aren't - that's why we have friends.
It's more because they're always there.
And no matter how old you get or how far away you move, they're the ones who will always call you by your childhood nickname and when they get old won't know who you are if you call yourself anything else.
They're the ones who remember that when you were six they decided you were the difficult one and that your brother was good with his hands and nothing you do will ever change that ever.
Families house the relatives. The mean cousin you never liked, even when he grew up and was so good to your mother.
And the aunt or uncle or in-law who, at every family gathering, backs you into a corner to question you about your religious practices or wonder loudly why it is you can't find anyone to love you.
And you want to be there for them - or at least some of them - but in times of crisis you find yourself asking your sister if her best friend is there and thanking Christ when she says yes because all three of you know that she is far better able to take care of things with a delicacy that you, in your ham-fisted approach to life and all its problems will never possess ever.
And you make a circle of friends and you count yourself lucky - and perhaps a little wise -to have them.
But comes the phone call and you find yourself dropping everything to make the trek. To stand with your cousins and aunts and siblings to offer what imperfect comfort and help you can.
And sometimes the news is good and there's a wedding and you find yourself dragged on to the dance floor while the music plays. And you dance with your sister and your nieces and your cousins and brothers.
And it's not perfect or even always all that good and most of the time you can't really understand the draw. But it's your family.
It might have some dents and patches of rust - like the Buick your parents used to pile you and your siblings into for vacations and mystery trips.
And you realize that there are only a couple of dozen people in this big old world who know what that feels like. And that sort of has to count for something.