I find myself writing frequently about family because it’s a topic near to my heart. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not grateful for the close-knit family I have and it grieves my heart for those who don’t have that blessing.
During the almost 40 years of marriage to the Papa of this empty nest, we lived over half of those years away from our parents and siblings. So those times we actually were able to spend with our families created special memories we hold dear.
Because of that, we tried our hardest to create a sense of family togetherness with our three children. We made it a point to attend events together as a family whether it be a Little League baseball game or a musical choir concert.
Papa and I attempted to instill in our three that family means supporting and loving one another no matter what because so much of the time, it was just the five of us alone. Our children’s grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins all lived too far away from us to be part of our daily lives.
Long distance phone calls were the only means we had to stay in touch back then, along with the occasional trips back “home” or when family came to visit us.
So gatherings with the extended family became precious because they were so few.
And now, it seems that history is repeating itself. Two of our adult children and their spouses live several hours away from Papa and me. Again, time spent together is such a blessing – truly something memories are made of – especially now that we have two adorable grandchildren in our family.
This past Easter weekend, Papa and I loaded up the car, left the empty nest, and headed west to our son and daughter-in-law’s lovely home to celebrate the holiday. Our oldest daughter and son-in-law traveled a couple hours from their home to join us as well. Unfortunately, our other daughter and first little grandchild couldn’t be there with us and their presence was sorely missed.
But we were grateful for the time most of us got to spend together this Easter.
Loving and cuddling our newest grandbaby, snapping family photos, recalling funny family stories, taking a walk as a family to the nearby park, the guys’ skeet shooting outing, sitting together on the deck one evening just conversing, preparing and cooking meals in the kitchen together, attending church to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior.
Those were the highlights of the weekend. Those moments don’t sound exciting but they fill my heart with such bliss.
And make me feel so very blessed. Isn’t that what a family should be? A true blessing. This family gathering was my special Easter blessing.
“What greater blessing to give thanks for at a family gathering than the family and the gathering.” ~ Robert Brault