If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Family Gatherings

One thing that is hard to coordinate when combining two families in marriage is the visitation and celebrations of holidays.  We all want to be at every family gathering so we can catch up on all the news of the relatives.  Mike and I like to see the granddaughters and watch them play.  We enjoy learning what is going on in the lives of the nieces and nephews.  Yet, it always seems we are pulled in more than one direction on such occasions.  This past Easter was no different.

We decided well in advance that we didn't like splitting up and going in different directions - him to his family's and me to mine.  We did that last year and it just isn't what works for us.  We like to be together as much as we can - sharing the experiences.  The first year we went to his family's Easter gathering first and then trekked over to my folks'.  We were too full to eat at both places and didn't get to visit with either set of relatives as much as we would have liked.  Plus, we felt rushed at both places. 

This spring was kind of unique, too, because my mother seemed to be the one who needed the most help.  She has been suffering terribly with pain in her hips and legs.  [First, it was thought to be risidual from her knee replacement and then the fall in the creek which cracked her hip.  (Yes, she does WAY too much and thinks she is invincible.)  Then, the thought was that perhaps some physical therapy might help the situation.  When that didn't seem to be working, she revisited her doctor and he scheduled surgery which took place last Friday.  She seems to be doing well and is recovering nicely with hardly any pain at this point.  So, we are grateful for another huge blessing!]  Bridgette and I went over and pulled weeds and did some cleaning - Bridgette was far more industrious and productive than me.  You can read about that afternoon HERE

So, on Easter Sunday, all the folks who gathered there at Mom and Daddy's simply brought a dish or two and we had a delicious feast almost like we always have.  Mom and Daddy had baked a ham and had rolls ready to go in the oven when Mike and I got there.  Mike decided that we also needed another meat and decided to roast some chicken on the grill.

Saturday night found him mixing concoctions and injecting it into the chickens.  Then, on Sunday morning he rose and began his culinary magic.  He likes to cook with charcoal and seems to be in heaven when he gets to cook for other folks.  I guess cooking can be therapeutic for us even though it is a lot of work!  Here is a shot of his work in progress.
Chicken leg quarters with his specially concocted dry rub sprinkled on top

He also roasted three whole chickens.  I must say, I ate my share of these!  They tasted just as wonderful as they look here.

Yes, I forgot to take photos of everybody assembled and the delicious feast we had while we chatted and caught up on all the news that is news with one another.  Trust me, though, that it was all fabulous.  Mike and I learned about Dwayne's new purchase of a lawn mower for Brenda.  (She cannot have something too modern or fast because she has a reputation of being a bit wild behind the wheel - like the time when we were young girls and she ran through the plank yard fence and just circled back through and finished cutting the yard.) 

When we finally had things back to normal - chairs put away, the tables collapsed back down from being stretched with the leaves added, dishes washed, and left-over food stored in the fridge, Mike's family had dispersed and gone on to other family gatherings or returned home.  So, we missed out on seeing all of them. 

I'm grateful to have sons who respect their wive's family and cherish their wives enough to want to spend time with their extended families.  I'm also grateful to have a son-in-law who is an only child and his parents are willing to travel and share their time with us.  I hate sacrificing and missing out.  I'm greedy and want it all.  I wish I knew of a way to solve this issue and make it where we can be with both crews without feeling rushed or missing out.  Does anybody have a solution?

I think the best thing I can remind myself of when it comes to such situations is that I am grateful to have close family ties with both my own parents and children as well as with Mike's parents and children.  I am grateful that we are all healthy and the ease of gathering together when we can is simply a matter of a short trip down the road and we are not separated by long distances or even oceans.  I hope that I can always enjoy the luxury of having family nearby where we can get together.