Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Off to a Family Reunion

Early this morning I will be leaving for a family reunion – our first and hopefully the first of many. This year it will include my three adult children, their mother, a daughter-in-law and a son-in-law, three grandchildren, and Cody – my son’s dog. The large four bed room, three-bath beach house with a pool on St. George Island in the pan handle of Florida will provide the venue for laughter, a few old stories and a lot of fun. Thus, I will be incommunicado until the end of next weekend.

Just for the heck of it, I did a Google Search on “Family Reunions” and found hundreds of sites devoted to family reunions. Very helpful information! In fact, one of the websites, family-reunion.com, is totally devoted to what one might need to know and do to plan a family reunion. For example, it includes:

Five Resource Links:
Family reunion planning software
Everything for your family reunion
Family reunion related books and software
Awards Mister Spiffy has won
Link to us

and,

Fourteen Organizing Links:
Organize your family reunion
Types of family reunions
Pick a date for your family reunion
Your family reunion guest list
Family reunion activities
Family reunion games
Family reunion locations
Paying for your family reunion
Family reunion themes
Family reunion ideas
Spreading the word about your family reunion
Food for your family reunion
Holding the reunion
Wrapping up your family reunion

For years I have been trying to get my family to plan a reunion… but everyone’s been too busy. This year, however, it’s finally happening. In addition to sweetening the pot (kicking in more than my share of the rental cost of the beach house), I think guilt had some role in everyone’s decision. I told them about a very close buddy of mine who for years tried to get his family to get together for a three-day reunion, but the response always was the same: “We’re so busy at work, and…” When my buddy died, however, everyone in his family spent a week in his house grieving and taking care of his effects. As I told my children, it would be nice for the grandchildren to run on the beach and swim in the pool with Pop Pop (instead of waiting too long and watching him drool in a rocking chair, eating his meals through a straw).

Reunions often start at funerals. People often attend funerals even if they may not have had contact with the deceased person in years. Family members are so pleased to see each other, but this is difficult under the circumstances. Then they talk about getting together for a happy occasion, someone agrees to organize it, and the seed of a reunion have been planted. Sometimes property brings families together. Families learn that they are heirs, and in trying to settle the legal problems, find other relatives they did not know existed. To wit, my family’s reunion is as great as I expect it to be, I am going to suggest that next year we include extended-family members (I suspect I’m still influenced by Alex Haley’s great book, Roots). I’m so excited I’m tingling!

’ll see you when I get back… pass the sunscreen!

Question: Does your family have an annual family reunion?

Bill

3 comments:

Andie said...

Dr. Bill,

I wish we had a reunion every year as the majority of my family is in Canada. I haven't seen most of them for about 10 years. I miss them desperately, but money and miles keep us apart. I like many of my generation have grown up with only my immediate family around.

My children are luckier than I as my parents are only a half a day's drive away and we see them several times a year. Enjoy your lovely vacation and may the reunion be the one of your dreams. Eat, drink and be merry...and kiss and hug the "babies" big and small often.

Andie

Mostly Happy Thoughts said...

Growing up we had family reunions on my mom's side every year... and now everytime my aunt and uncle (who are now in Alberta) visit they do spontaneous "reunions" . there are many many cousins and aunts/uncles on my mom's side... my mom has 6 sibblings and one of her sibblings has 6 kids.... We have always been a family that has gotten excited about reunions and get togethers. Even at my dad's we try to do huge family dinners as often as possible (every single Sunday would make my step mom happy!). I think we are a weird and unusual family that way, in spite of everything we all love to get together and socialize :)

enjoy your reunion!!!!

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Andie,
Thanks for the visit and well-wishes regarding my family reunion. I am happy to tell you – it exceeded my expectations. There were the big moments – when all of us were at the same table or in the same room, laughing and cajoling the night away. And there were the big little moments – like when I walked down the beach for ten minutes with my two–year old granddaughter looking for shells; I didn’t have to share her with anyone – those ten minutes were ours alone. As I said, I hope it’s the first of many.
And while us adults were cherishing the moments, we also were building the future memories for the children!
(We also ate, drank and were merry!)
Bill

Hi again MHT,
Our reunion wasn’t as large as yours, but as I was just saying to Andie – it was terrific! I think everyone left with a sense of sadness (an “if we could only have one more day…” kind of sadness), yet buoyed by our talks abut getting together again within the next year. That was wonderful!
Thanks again, MHT… I have many wonderful memories to warm my heart,
Bill