Family and Going Home

Starting tonight we get our grandsons for the weekend. I’m reminded how precious family is, especially this time of the year. My husband and I love having them spend time with us. They’re growing up fast (like the old song, “Turn Around”) and it won’t be long when they’ll have places to go and things to do with their friends.

Yes, we get caught up in the frenzy of job, errands, answering e-mails, etc. but more than once a year, at Christmas time, it’s important to play – wrestle, take long walks, make snowmen, talk, read stories, watch movies – and not let a minute go by without cherishing the gift of family. Whatever your family looks like, whether with children or not, it’s valuable to you and that’s what is important.

I grew up spending the whole summer, every summer, with my sister and 5 cousins at my grandparents. We were always excited to get there and cried when it came time to leave.

There was nothing special to do at my grandparents. They didn’t have toys and never took us to a movie. We just hung around every day and played together and were part of their everyday life. I think that is what was so special. We belonged and were valued and safe.

They took us fishing and crabbing and we went to the cemetery with them to cut the grass around the family tombstones. They interacted with us in their regular daily living. We visited like that with them every year until I graduated from high school. In fact that’s where I got the idea of sitting around the kitchen table and talking (see my headline).

Occasionally on the weekends our parents would come to visit – some as far as 250 miles. Because it was a long ride just for the weekend, they would leave after work on Friday and drive until the early morning hours. We’d be in bed and hear them come in and Grandmom would put on a pot coffee.

She would fix them something to eat to give them a chance to unwind from their long trip before going up to bed. We’d lie in bed catching the aromas of food drifting upstairs and listen to the quiet sounds of their laughter and talk. It’s been over 35 years now since my grandparents have died and I still miss them.

I can still hear them in the only lit room in the house, talking and sitting around the lone, kitchen table with all of us nestled upstairs in our warm beds. How do you create those memories for our children, our families? The answer: time and giving of yourself.

How did we get so busy that we barely have time for supper, a few words and homework, before it’s time for bed and then the next morning it starts all over again? Before you know it a year has flown by, then 5 years and then high school and on, and on, and on….. How do you take back control of your life? As Nike says, “Just do it!”

If you don’t make the conscious decision to live the life you want to live, it will be done for you. Life just happens. As we approach this special time of the year, become aware of your routines and demands and decide to change it. Love more, live more, laugh more and make those special memories starting this very moment with your family – your loved ones.

Here is a little something from Erma Bombeck, writer and humorist, If I Had to Live My Life Over (written after she found out she was dying from cancer).


From the kitchen table – Pat