This weekend, most of my family will be gathering for a reunion on Saturday and a baby shower on Sunday. No doubt, these events will make for fond memories and a quintessential Fourth of July.
My dad took over hosting the annual family reunion for his side the year after Mom died, and it has grown into a passion for him. As one of seven children (second-youngest), he has enjoyed having his siblings and their children come and spend an idyllic summer day of good, old-fashioned fun. Now that my dad lives in Medina, he has a lovely 19-acre property, most of which is wooded and perfect for exploring. There’s a good-sized pond with fish that practically jump onto the lines, and a creek with salamanders and crawdads. The kids are excited because my dad and his wife have a surprise for the pond — a new paddleboat.
I think there is little my dad enjoys more than seeing the generations of family playing cards on the deck, fishing in the pond, or tossing a baseball in the yard.
One younger brother flew in late last night from Arizona, where he is attending college. My sister and her boyfriend are enroute now from their home in Hawaii; they will arrive tonight. (Why we don’t just meet at their place is beyond me…) Another younger brother and his pregnant wife will be here tomorrow. The only one missing is my older brother, who lives in Texas. He definitely will be missed.
My Aunt Sharon and Uncle Dave bring barbequed chicken from Shreve. I look forward to it all year. It just falls off the bone. Aunt Joyce usually brings cucumber slices in a sour cream dressing — good, and different from my mother’s. My cousin Becky, who isn’t married and doesn’t have children, often hits Trader Joe’s on her way here, and brings funky flavors of organic chips and hummus, which are a real treat for me since we don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby. One year, my Venezualan-born Aunt Lil, who lives with my uncle and cousins in Miami, brought lychee — a small, juicy, tropical fruit I’d never before tasted. My cousin Mandy, who’s a registered dietician, is always good for some yummy dessert.
I haven’t decided what to bring just yet. I’m throwing a baby shower for my brother and his wife on Sunday, and I’m up to my eyeballs in plans for that. I think I’ll make some cookies from the dough in my freezer and bring artichoke dip (also in my freezer) and not get too ambitious.
There should be about 45 people there on Saturday, and another 20 or so for the baby shower on Sunday. The shower is going to be with the ladies on my mother’s side of the family, so the crowd will be slightly different.
Since we don’t know the baby’s gender, we are doing a neutral ladybug theme. This is the first grandchild on our side, apart from my five, so we are all excited. The party’s in the small town of Sidney, about 40 miles north of Dayton, so my 90-year-old grandma can attend. In many ways, I think I’m throwing the party more for her benefit than my brother, because she doesn’t get out much anymore. But it’s always fun to have an excuse to buy baby things.
In this era when everything moves too fast, when we are all so over-booked with softball and baseball games, soccer and music lessons, we often neglect to take time to catch up with the people we should be closest to. Even though they take some work, I’m glad that we have these events to remind us of what’s important.
It’s the stuff our children will remember and, one day, continue.
All in all, a great weekend for