“How about we just enjoy being with one another”

(5 minute read)

Merry Christmas, Happy New Years, Happy Valentine’s Day, Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Happy Birthday and Happy Easter! Phew! We covered off on all of them this past weekend. We had some catching up to do. It had been several months since we were all together, November in fact, to celebrate Thanksgiving. Covid was the main culprit for keeping us apart and cancelling our family gatherings. Who would have thought that in 2023, three whole years later, this annoying virus us still wreaking havoc in our lives. Well, it did not get the chance to ruin things this past weekend. Hallelujah!

All my children home for the holiday weekend, what more can a Mama Bear ask for? My heart is full reflecting on our time spent together. I fit in as much as I possibly could. I was like Julie McCoy from the Love Boat with a clipboard in my mind of all that I wanted us to include in our gathering. Food, games, presents, baskets, egg hunts, movies, pictures, games, debates, and “what else am I forgetting.” My excitement and anticipation of getting all eight of us at the same place at the same time wired me up. Like a child at an amusement park who finishes riding one attraction and immediately exclaims, “What’s next?!” I was determined to get all that we missed out on in the last four months into one day. Instead of relaxing, my mind was revolving around “Ok, when are we playing Codenames, or Kube, but when is the egg hunt, it’s cold so the Solo stove is lit and everyone is around it…” My son in law, who has learned to read my facial expressions and recognized my rolling agenda in my brain said the simplest thing. “How about we just enjoy being with one another.”

I paused and laughed. He was so right. In my mad dash to make sure we fit everything in, I was overlooking what was most important: we were together. I love what good sports my son in law and my daughter in law are. They both know that our family makes our gatherings into festive affairs with games, spirited conversations, long held traditions and celebrations that can last late into the night. They also know what a Mamabear I am and how much it all means to me to fit in things like egg hunts and group pictures. And yet, I love that my daughter’s husband quietly uttered the suggestion which implied pumping the breaks on the “fit it all in” engine. “How about we just enjoy being with one another.”

I come from a family of celebration “fit it all in” people. Our gatherings growing up did not simply involve big meals together. We made creative table place cards, played group games, and even performed skits. If at a family reunion, we had custom ink t-shirts for everyone, and a whole host of activities that would rival any summer camp schedule. We planned theme nights and theme meals. I suppose my upbringing of such extracurricular family gatherings, pulling out all the stops, has led me to create similar expectations for our celebrations. There is the birthday hat one must wear, the red special plate, the birthday banner, and all of the homemade birthday cards with illustrations and words that bring tears to the recipients eyes (both touching and humorous). 

We simply FIT A LOT IN. We just do. Or at least I try to…

To make this past weekend even more jam-packed, we included an early birthday celebration for my husband. He is turning 60 years old. The kids donned overalls and took pictures in shapes on the floor, spelling out “Happy 60th Birthday Dad!” In case you’re questioning the overall attire, it was because they were re-enacting a picture session I did with the four children 23 years ago when my parents turned 60. At the time the kids were 7, 5, 3 and 1. I dressed them in osh kosh overalls and positioned them in each of the letters, took their pictures with a camera and developed them, and put them onto a board and gifted them to their 60 year old grandparents. So we did the same, but this time for their father who turns 60 on Thursday. So after the egg hunt, after the games, after dinner, before the fire pit, our four kids secretly changed into overalls and had a 30 minute photo session with my daughter in law snapping iPhone pictures from the upstairs balcony as the twenty somethings wriggled around on the floor laughing and spelling out the words. My son in law had the job of keeping my husband busy and distracted out at the Solo stove. We did it. We fit it all in.

If you are exhausted reading this, welcome to my life. When we all get together it is busy and fun and a little bit energy zapping. But I love it. The house is still littered with plastic eggs, wrapping paper, and a Christmas tree that needs to go back into the basement. It was memorable for sure, as are all of our gatherings.

 I miss them already. 

One comment

  1. I can completely visualize all of this and especially you, MamaBear leading it all! What a fun weekend, but I’m sure your favorite part was just having everyone together! Wise words from your son-on-law! With one in college & one on the way, I truly treasure when we can all be together! Sounds like a magical time!


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