It’s Father’s Day. My dad has long since moved from this life to the next but he’s so real in our lives and in our way of living—from faith to family.
This past week, we spent three days and four nights with family. Siblings. Cousins. Mom. Aunt and Uncle.
It started when my maternal grandmother turned 100. Her two daughters and their children gathered with their children in eastern Tennessee to celebrate.
We rented cabins at Norris Dam and a tradition was born.
One rainy afternoon as we all huddled on one of the cabin’s front porches, I said, “We can’t let this die. We have to do this again.”
Among the cousins’s kids there were 16 kids under twenty. Fourteen under fourteen. And they were having a blast.
We all agreed. We had to gather again. Since there is no formal “family home” any more, Norris Dam State Park acted as a perfect substitute.
Every family has their own cabin. Those of us without kids, bunked in together.
A tradition was born. My dad would’ve been proud.
Grandma died in January at 102 and 7 months. I’m not sure she was totally aware of the spark her 100th started, but I know she’d be grateful.
We set up a few guidelines from the start. Try to have the reunion the same time every year. And keep the location.
The moment we started to move it around would be the moment we’d lose people. We all try to keep an open mind and open schedule to find the best weekend.
While we want everyone there, it’s come as you can. No pressure to show up but know you’ll be missed.
So far, so good. 🙂
The kids are all starting to know each other. My little cousins call me Aunt Rachel. Way easier than “First cousin once removed Rachel.” Ha!
Children whom I might not have known, who would not have known me, now have a place in my heart. I hope I am helping to make sweet childhood memories for them.
It’s a sure time I see my own siblings without the hassle of holidays.
The accommodations are a step above camping but comfortable and accessible. We keep a fire going in the fire pits even in June.
We set up community dining though each cabin has it’s own kitchen for personal items.
We laugh. We play games and cards. My brother and I barely missed being crowned Euchre champions this year but I took a risk and got us euchred. 😉 Hubs and my brother-in-law took the next hand to win it.
We laughed. A lot. It bears repeating.
I love this tradition. I love that everyone is committed to working out the best time together. I love that the kids look forward to it every year. And hey, aren’t adults just big kids?
Hubs and I are off on a week vacation in NC. But I already miss the noise and the chaos of the family camp. I’ll treasure the memories for the rest of the year with the comfort of expectation as we look forward to 2018.