That’s the name my husband’s sister gave our gathering, and it’s the name that stuck. It also happens to totally fit.
Nine siblings from around the globe—Las Vegas! Oregon! Tennessee! Hong Kong! Etc!—descending upon a large red house in upstate New York with eight spouses (we missed you, Rachel!) and twenty-three grandchildren (we missed you, Mallory!) was bound to have a sort of Kaboom Effect. And it did, but not at all in a bad way. Just in a very loud sort of way, with lots of people, wet swimming suits, dogs, and beer. At mealtimes, watching the hoards descend upon the kitchen, the phrase “a crush of human bodies” kept running through my mind. It was impressive.
*That nine siblings can gather for a good 48 hours and actually get along! They visited and frolicked the whole time, together. Not once did I witness a single episode of nasty rudeness, and if anyone had to step out for some deep breathing, I didn’t notice. In other words, graciousness reigned. Which is either a tribute to the Parents Supreme or just bountiful good luck.
*An evening out for the 17 adults! The 23 kids holding down the fort! While we feasted on burgers and fish tacos (and then hopped across the street to finish up the evening at a bar), the children made a supper of sloppy Joes, watched a movie, and had secret snack. When we returned, all the littles were in bed, the kitchen was spotless, and a fire was blazing in the fire pit on the deck.
*The awesome bartender who stood precariously high on a wobbly stool (chair? table?) and took lots of pictures of us!
*The vast quantity of alcohol consumed!
(The first time I visited my husband-then-boyfriend at his parents’ house, I unwisely picked the beer-filled cooler upon which to park my butt. I spent the evening jumping up. Times have not changed, except this year it was my father-in-law who made the unwise seating choice. However, considering that he’s not a drinker and he’s not as limber as a 19-year-old and it was rather rude to ask him to repeatedly stand up, perhaps his seating choice was intentional?)
*Our extravagantly generous hosts!
Think they might be just a wee bit tired?
In a message from Dee this morning:
*The lake! The lake! The lake! Several of the brothers had rented a lake house and each afternoon we’d all descend on the little house with a big dock and the entire Seneca Lake for a backyard. It was an all-you-can-swim/boat/fish party.
*Also, lots of other activities! There was hiking at the gorge, a trip to the lake to see fireworks, small-group visits to the grandparents’ new, downsized home, bracelet making, the all-family photo shoot, and daily-life events like shopping, biking, running, and, of course, lots of cooking and eating.
the fire pit…
*The (almost) zero presence of electronic devices! Instead, the cousins played. And played. And played and played and played. Watching them romp with such abandon, I felt like my children were being granted something extremely rare and precious—sacred, practically—that will be theirs to treasure for life. What a gift.
And then we headed home. On the way, we treated our kids to McDonald’s for breakfast (they were not impressed), my coffee had a face, and a random box of cheerios from Grandma saved the day (and got completely polished off).