I often - very, very often, in fact - wonder what it would have been like to have grown up in a large, tight-knit family. My family is, at least technically, fairly large (I have a lot of cousins, for example) but in reality, pitifully small.
On my father's side, my grandfather died a few weeks after I was born, my grandmother when I was just 19 and my aunt, whom I loved most dearly, died of cancer when I was 21 (she was married to an arsehole and had no children, even though she would have been a wonderful, wonderful mother). There were a lot of "uncles" (presumably my father's, not possibly mine) and "cousins", but we didn't really see any of them and certainly don't have contact now.
On my mother's side, things are worse still. My mother (who died in 2003) was the youngest of 5 children. Her eldest sister died when I was 6, her only brother died a few years ago (quite a few, I think, though I couldn't really say, I probably only met him a handful of times) and the middle sister died probably about 20 years ago. That middle sister was kind of out of the loop, though, because she was a fanatical Jehovah's Witness, so again, I didn't know her or her husband and never knowingly met any of their 3 sons (my cousins), all presumably much older than I am.
The sister nearest my mother in age - 7 years older - lived in Africa with her husband (now dead) and four children. They all moved back to Britain gradually, more or less when I moved to France. I've probably never spent more than a few hours with any of them.
So yeah, it's all pretty dysfunctional. My family can basically be summarised as my father and one cousin - the son of my mother's eldest sister, though he's 65 now and has always felt more like an uncle than a cousin.
All this because I had a mild tiff with D's mother on the phone this weekend and I'm now waiting for the fall-out to hit. I know I shouldn't have said so much to her, I shouldn't have let rip quite so much with what I think of D and his behavious, I certainly shouldn't have said what my feelings are for D. But there really is no one else right now.