People like to make jokes about family events – even family reunions. One comedian says to decline any invitation to attend a family reunion. He said they are the reason we move away from family members; there is always booze there, and it’s not to celebrate, but to tolerate. There is the joke about young adults hating Thanksgiving and other family holidays – that getting together with relatives is something to dread, not something to enjoy. I constantly hear people make disparaging remarks about family members – spouses, children, and everyone else. For some reason, it’s a popular thing to badmouth family. But really, family is everything! They need to be appreciated and cherished.

One of our many cousins hosts a family reunion every summer, and I always try to make it. It’s one for my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandmother, too, of course! She’s so sweet to open her home to the entire clan. We all hang out and talk and eat during the day. Some people play games, and there are prizes for the kids. My husband likes to kick the soccer ball. Some people play catch. There are things like wheelbarrow races (the kind with human ‘wheelbarrows’). She has a trampoline, too, which the kids love. My daughter and a few other kids like to play in the creek as well. Once it gets dark, there are often fireworks, and then a little later there is the campfire with the mandatory marshmallows and s’mores. Last summer, there was even a group who stayed overnight in their tents in her yard! Shari, you rock!

In the past, we used to sometimes have reunions for the entire extended family. I haven’t been to one of those in ten years. There was one nine years ago, but I wasn’t able to make it that weekend. That upset me, because I was really looking forward to it. I think there was one another year, but I didn’t hear about it in time. I was really excited to hear that one is being planned for this summer. I really appreciate the cousin who organized it (thank you, Theresa!). There are some relatives I haven’t seen in a long time, and some my husband hasn’t even met yet. It’s difficult to get the chance to visit everyone in a large family, especially when you live hours away from the majority of them. A family reunion is an opportunity to see relatives you might not otherwise get to see.

I really look forward to spending time with everyone I can this summer at the reunions. There are some relatives I would have liked to see again, but now it’s too late. I don’t want to miss any more opportunities. I hope to be able to see everyone in the family, and reconnect. I feel like I don’t remember enough about everyone, and the younger generation is growing – both in size, and in age! Things change for everyone, too, and it will be great to get (and give) updates. I’m excited for our reunions, and can’t wait to go!

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