Summer may be the best time for family reunions since schools are not in session and the weather in the upper Midwest permits lovely options outdoors. As a matter of fact, I went to a family gathering on my mom’s side of the family just last Saturday. It was so much fun! I didn’t keep up with my cousins very well over time. Therefore, it was sort of like meeting all new people. However, the fun of it was trying to figure out who belonged to which family. Mom had six siblings, all of whom are gone except one who is my godmother. So, mostly the next generation was trying to establish itself.
The main organizers knew everybody because one of these ambitious organizers prepared a family tree. Then they proceeded to use some of this information for making gifts for everyone. For example, each cousin received a card with a family picture on one side and an original copy of the great grandparents of this special family, who were immigrants from Germany. The family picture of my mom’s family is so wonderful because it depicts the children with their dad shortly after their mother died. The family chose to stay together even though the youngest boy was only two years old. These pictures are so precious.
Another gift was given as a door prize. It was a wonderful lap blanket showing the facials of all seven siblings. It was a beautiful prize, which I unfortunately did not win! In addition, every sibling or spouse received a huge mug with one side sporting the family picture and the other a handsome portrait of the individual sibling! Very nice! Best of all, of course, was the reacquainting or establishing of new bonds that happened during the time everyone enjoyed the tasty meal that came together as each of the cousins added a main dish, dessert or side dish.
Through the few short hours we all came to realize, once again, the gift of family.
Mary Jane Berger, OSB