Monday, November 30, 2009

Portraits of my family

Thanksgiving 2009 - Gerry, NY

Every Thanksgiving my brother, sister, my husband & I head to our parent's home in Gerry, NY. 

For Thanksgiving 2009 all my parents' children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were there.  Along with some of my parents siblings and their children. 

It was awesome! !

We are beginning to have a few empty places at the table now. 
We said "it's so wonderful that EVERYONE is here this year!"

and at the same time we are all thinking, 
"NO! Everyone is NOT here!"  

Family gatherings usually have that tinge of the bitter-sweet. 

My brother is missing his wife. 
His children are missing their mother. 
My sister is missing Frank and
her children are missing their father. 
Heather is missing her Dad and her grandfather. 
I am missing my 16 y/o son.  
My daughter is missing her brother. 
My mother even tried to rescue a slice of stuffed pepper for Uncle Harold,
Then it hits her.  She stands there with a blank look on her face holding the plate. 

We will never ALL be here.  
I don't like it. 
In fact, I HATE IT ! 

I can chose to either sit, mope, and mourn my families' losses 
or I can decide to enjoy today. 

Today I can choose to laugh outrageously,
play games with my little great nieces and nephew, 
hold the new babies, and
carry on deep and often silly conversations with my family,
or I can be cynical, bitter, and miss all the excitement that today will bring. 

Why - how awful if I missed getting to know the 2 new members of our family who have arrived since last Thanksgiving. 

Oh! - and how exciting to watch my new son-in-law
getting to know this noisy bunch. 

As Barbara Johnson said: "Pain is inevitable; but misery is optional"

I'm learning that we will never
be able to have joy today
and a better tomorrow,
if we are always thinking of our yesterdays. 

We ALL choose to enjoy these few days with each other. 
Our awesome, funny, encouraging, God-loving family.
We'd be crazy to miss the opportunities that will arise.

Besides - misery doesn't feel all that great anyway.

Not everyone enjoys their family
or likes spending time with their family.
But I agree with Desmond Tutu who said: 
"You don't choose your family.
They are God's gift to you, as you are to them" 

And as Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford wrote in a M.A.S.H. episode: 
"I don't care how poor a man is;
if he has family, he's rich."
I love my family. 
They are fun, witty, silly, serious, intelligent, wise, and my best friends. 
They come in all shapes and sizes, 
and all shades of color. 
All ages from 7 wks old to 88 years old. 
A rambunctious wild noisy crazy laughing bunch of folks  - crowded into one small house.  

 I've been so blessed to be a part of THIS family?

I literally have riches that
many people will never know or understand !!
~ To my dear wonderful unconditionally loving family ~ 
Let's keep passing it on!

"Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God."  Philippians 1:3

6 of my parents 8 great-grandchildren

My parents other 2 great-grandchildren

Maynard sister - My Mom, Gail, and Verna

Dad (Bompie) & Leanna taking a nap (as every child, grandchild, and great-child has done)          

Jenia, Heather, Mel, and Scott
=                                                    =
My daughter and son-in-law
My husband

Mike reviewing his wife's life via the photo albums

My Dad's brother, Bob, and my cousin, Skippy

"Charles & Charles LLC".   My Dad & newest great-grandchild.   7 wks old and 88 years young.  Every grandchild and great-grandchild has fallen asleep in Bompie's recliner -in his arms -in this very corner - usually after reading several books.  Bompie is the 'bestest reader ever!'

My sis' daughter & husband - Robin & Jay

My sis' dau, Vicki, Whop & family                                     

Mel's son Scott with my hubby Marvin out on the patio                                                                 

My husband and son-in-law - proving that it is MANLY to do the dishes.                           

My Mom sitting at her organ.  At 87 she has just given up playing the organ at church & teaching the Adult Sunday School Class.  She had more songs to write and the harmony to finish on songs she has already written.   As she says; "The bass and tenor parts aren't quite right yet."  She has her life story to finish yet and a children's story finished.  It needs published because she NEEDS to give it to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.                          
My brother's dau and husband - Amy, Corey and baby Charles.                                                       
Marty's son & wife - Stephen and Joy
Aunt Verna, Greg, Allaire
My kindergarten-high school friend, Cindy, with me at the Gerry Fire Craft Show - Santa and his helper are my cousin (Linda Schwab Cutler)'s grandchildren                 

We all grow up with the weight of history on us.
Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies.
Shirley Abbott
In family life,
love is the oil that eases friction,
the cement that binds closer together,
and the music that brings harmony.”
Eva Burrows
My dad with my brother Marty and Marty's new grandson Charles. 

Itty Bitty snowman (who is holding his own snowball) made by Alma 

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