It’s always been an important aspect of our lives here in this empty nest home even when it wasn’t empty.
When our three offspring were young, we tried to spend as much time as possible together, attending activities and sports events to support one another. At times it was oh, so very hectic.
That and living at a great distance away from our extended family – parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, and cousins – prevented us from spending as much time with our relatives as we would have liked.
Over 20 years ago, we relocated back to my hometown to be closer to some of our family. Our kids were teens and pre-teens and our household was still a busy one; Papa’s work travels interfered, but we managed to devote time to parents before they passed away and to some of our extended family.
But since Papa’s extended family lived several hours away, we couldn’t always attend family events like reunions. As the years passed, we found ourselves only seeing those family members at funerals.
Circumstances changed as we entered these retirement years, and we’ve found ourselves with time to devote to family gatherings afar. As the older generations of our families are now gone, it seems more important than ever to stay connected.
Now days, families are scattered hither and yon. Two of our own grown children live in other states as does one of my sisters and one of Papa’s brothers and their families. Visiting with them requires major trips.
Maybe that’s why I relish time with family so very much. We just don’t get to experience that luxury very often.
Back in the beginning of September, Papa and I traveled across our state for an overnight stay to attend a family reunion with his mother’s relatives. Uncles and aunts are now long gone but still the cousins meet on a Sunday afternoon at a state park for a picnic and time together.
We enjoyed our visit and picnic lunch in a quiet, tranquil area of the park. It was a joy to see the “kids” all grown up with spouses and little ones of their own. The day resulted in a wonderful time of reconnecting, reminiscing, and reacquainting.
Just last weekend, we were blessed with another joyful time of family togetherness when our own “kids” all came home for a visit. The house was full. And with two preschoolers running around, a baby, and a dog along with seven adults, it was a loud and boisterous place.
Quite a difference from what this empty nest home usually is like but we wouldn’t have traded that time and noise and chaos for all the world.
It’s family time. And it makes me happy and contented and looking forward to the next time we will gather again.
Christmas this year in this ol’ empty nest is going to be the most wonderful time of the year.
“When we sit thoughtfully pondering in a quiet place and the Spirit speaks to us, there will come into our hearts and souls the things that are truly our greatest desires, those things that are more important in the long run than anything else. Away from the appeal of the world, that greatest desire usually relates to relationships with family and with the Lord. And when that priority is in place, then we begin to plan our lives with purpose. We begin to have goals that cause us to live with anticipation.” ~ Ardeth Kapp