On Saturday, my mother hosted a wonderful family picnic. It was in honor of my Great Aunt and Uncle whom we rarely see anymore. It used to be that we would see them at least once a year at Christmas. They drive 2 hours every Christmas to spend time at my Grandmother’s house, as they did not have any children of their own. However, as our families have grown, and my Grandparents now have great grandchildren, we do not all get together on Christmas day.
There are upsides and downsides to us not all congregating at one house in the middle of winter. On the upside, since my mother has 14 people in her family (counting her children, her children’s husbands, and her children’s children), and she has two sisters whom also have children and grandchildren, that is a lot of people in one space. At Christmas time, when the kids are excited, and there is no place for them to run off the excitement, it would be pure torture for my Grandmother, Pappy, Great Aunt and Uncle whether they want to admit it or not.
The downside is obvious. We now go years without seeing part of our family. My cousin had a baby about 3 months after I did, and I have yet to see that child, other than in pictures.
So, the plan was that we would all get together as a family on Saturday and have a picnic. My mother has a huge backyard, and lots of spaces for seating so her house was chosen. Everyone was given at least a 3 month warning, and was consulted about the best weekend for the party. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as planned. There were unscheduled softball and baseball tournaments, bouts of the flu, and unexplained no shows. It turned out to be a picnic with only my Mother’s immediate family, one of my cousins (who should be my sister, anyway), and my Great Aunt and Uncle.
As you can see from the pictures, we had a blast anyway. Whenever my Mother’s 8 grandkids get together at her house in the summer, the sprinkler goes on. They came up with an impromptu water olympics program, and they all had a wet and wonderful time. There was tree climbing, plenty of eating and a cake that celebrated all the birthdays, holidays and anniversaries in one fell swoop.
I hope we do this again next year. I always feel bad when I can’t spend Christmas day with my Mother’s family. However, I really do think the summer picnic is a much better way to go. Still tons of fun, with out the presents, and overly tired children.