France & the Dance

I just want you to really soak this in…


I bet you can feel the energy. You kinda wanna party, don’t you? Bet you wish you were in the room.

I’m sure you noticed Jj’s beard but did you notice the fact that my other cousin Mike is AIRBORNE?

I don’t have tons of pictures of France because I wasn’t tourist-ing like the first time. For that check my Facebook albums circa 2011. This time we went to a wedding, THE wedding, THE wedding of all weddings. I find it hard to put into words but I will explain, or try explain, what is happening in the above piece of art (yes art).

We have a tradition. At every cousin-wedding the alleged spouse isn’t truly official until they pass a test. As you can see above, we are a good time (toot, toot), and well to be allowed to bear our name you must also be a good time.

I could explain to you the origins of this ancient tradition and tell you a story that took place in a basement some time around 2000 AD but you’ll have to crash a family wedding and listen to Jj tell it during one of his epic speeches in the middle of the reception. I am not worthy.

What I can tell you is this: We have a family dance. Its simple. Everyone on the dance floor gets in a circle. Jj pulls up his hype men. We clap to the traditional beat. The hype men do the dance, the crowd does the dance, then the alleged spouse does the dance. If he/she is successful they may bear the name for the rest of their life, if not, we all pack our bags and leave immediately.

This wedding will probably overshadow every wedding I attend for a LONG time. Leonard, my brother, said it best, “We will be chasing that high for the rest of our lives.”

I’m aware the family can be tough and its not always fun to get together. If you are mourning hurtful memories, the way to get over that is to create new ones. If you wish you were closer to your family I have one practical tip:

Start your own tradition

  • create a family dance- obviously
  • start weekly/monthly/quarterly dinners- go some place neither of you has ever been, my brothers and I take turns on Sundays Yelping a new restaurant
  • group chat selfie bomb- when someone posts” selfie bomb” in the family group chat everyone posts a selfie in their current situation, we do not so this but I know people who do
  • weekly prayer requests in the group chat
  • recreate the same picture every year
  • SHOW UP- just attend the weddings, the baby showers, the funerals
  • make-up a handshake- we have one of those too
  • group work outs- any time we are together some of us go for a run
  • game night- no brainer, we are a fan of taboo
  • resurrect/mainstream the childhood nicknames- around my family I am not Esther I am Terter (I can’t believe I’m letting that loose on the internet), Ketura is Ketu, Job is Jobbi or Bibi, the list goes on… and on… and on

Do you have any wedding/family traditions? Please share! If not, make one up and fine tune it as you go along. Memories will be made. See below.





  1. Love it Esther! Your family is beautiful and your transitions are so fun! You are somethin’ special! Fun to hear your thoughts and see your pics!


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