For those who don’t have family – my heart goes out to you. I sincerely wish everyone had family, and not just one or two people to call family, but that you would be able to have the amount of family I have. The amount to where there can be about half of its members missing and yet the community center is still brimming with people. Children running amok and babies being handed back and forth – uncles endlessly teasing and aunts chatting as usual. I was reminded so many times of memories from the past – an uncle would slam his hand down on a table to scare someone just like the old days, an aunt would laugh, that familiar sound from childhood…all these sounds and traits from our childhood. It was comforting to know that we can not get together for so many years, as a group, and yet we’re all still so comfortable with one another that we carry on as if that time hasn’t aged us. Being able to reunite with cousins and catch up as much as possible – words just can’t describe how full my heart was yesterday. There was so much food, so MUCH food. Children eyeing the food table with hopeful anticipation, wondering if mom/dad might be watching – and if not, would they be able to get away with sneaking food without another adult stopping them (most adults just smiled in conspiracy with the child and said “just this once” and the child would scamper away, giddy that they were able to sneak a treat).
I reunited with my bestest friends – we took about a thousand pictures of us and our children. We chatted and caught up on what’s been going on in our lives. Exchanged stories about mommy-hood and being wives. Dreamed about how great it would be to live near one another to where we wouldn’t have to go 2 years without all being together. The best part is that 2 years is nothing when you have that bond that time can’t break or even touch!
There were stories (and pictures) exchanged – one aunt entered the local county fair and placed 3rd place with her needlepoint. She was working on some while there yesterday and I was reminded of all the times, as a child, that I would see her doing needlepoint. Another aunt placed 3rd in a pie-making contest. If I remember correctly, it was another ex-Amish woman who won first place. Surprised? Nope, ha!
There was, of course, the activities for the children to keep them occupied. Coloring, toys, balls and playing outside. It was such a different dynamic – my aunts were able to sit back and just enjoy their time, while the nieces were now the ones chasing little ones, doling out stern words, threats and discipline. The children played together as if they were long-lost friends, instead of meeting for the first time (some of them).
No family get-together of ours is legit without volleyball. And volleyball with the family is not the same without a few kicks and punches to the ball. The ball will go flying 30 feet farther than needed, with the customary “reef on it!” and “give it to it”. Did I mention the sweat? I don’t know that I have ever met any other men that are able to sweat quite as much as my uncles. However, I have never met men who give something as simple as a family game of volleyball their all, like my uncles do. They’re in it to win it but they are all smiles. They love to play, but they love to play the game with family. Or at least pretend well. 😉
Then there was cards – yes, I played. Why? Well, because my husband wasn’t playing! Just kidding! But not really…ha! The game was a little slower because people are constantly talking, mommies are corralling children, and someone is trying to figure out who’s turn it really is. It’s a blast!
Then the big nostalgic moment hit – the ice-pops were brought out. These were no ordinary ice-pops. Today marks exactly 3 months since my grandmother passed away. Two days before she passed, she asked for ice-pops. My mom and sister went and bought her this large box. My grandma had two, two lime ones to be exact (unless someone else from the family fed her some, of which I don’t know?). They were her favorite flavor. When she had her first taste, her eyes got large and she smiled that amazing smile and said “Mmmm, that’s good. Let me have some more!” She was on a liquid and ice chip diet, so we emptied the ice-pop (we hadn’t had time to freeze them yet as my mom had just got them from the store) into grandma’s ice chip cup and fed her lime flavored ice chips. I couldn’t feed her fast enough. My dad told me to slow down so she wouldn’t choke. Grandma told him “be quiet, she’s doing just fine” and then motioned for me to keep shoveling it in. Literally, that’s what I was doing. 🙂 Then my mom told me to give her smaller bites. Again, grandma told her “you hush, I like how she’s feeding me.” And again, she laughed. I remember that a small piece of ice fell on her chest and she grabbed it with her hands and pushed it into her mouth. She didn’t want to miss a single bite! When my grandma passed away two days later, my aunt had the great idea that my mom should bring the ice-pops to the reunion so that everyone could have one and we’d all remember grandma together. Grandma had been so looking forward to the reunion and this was just a way to honor her memory. I completely forgot about this and when my mom brought them out, it was a somber, but happy moment – remembering my grandma and how excited she was about something as simple as a lime ice-pop.
I looked around at my family – we’re in all walks of life. We live all over the US. But we’re family. I have the greatest family in the world. I wouldn’t trade a single person in my family for all the money or fame. They are each a part of me and my history. They are the best and I love them all! Yesterday went by too quickly and I loved every minute. I can’t wait for the next time we get together!