As many of you know, my father passed away in September. I am just starting to feel okay again. It has been a very hard journey, losing in, and trying to grieve, while still going on. I think having to help Gigi handle the loss, has made it a bit harder on me. She loved her Papa Charlie. It is weird how when people are alive, things seem important, and then once they are gone, those things do not even matter at all.
When I think about family gatherings, I mostly think about my childhood. Primarily Thanksgivings and Christmases, spent with my Aunts, Uncles, and cousins. They are some of my greatest memories. When I was still fairly young, we moved away from my family, and holidays were never the same after that.
I never seemed to get quite as close to my mom's family, as I was with my dad's. I regret that a bit. Family is important to me. Even my family I have only met once or twice, and even the family I have never met. At the end of the day, they are my family, and that matters to me.
I am a firm believer that people have two types of family. The family that shares the blood connection with you, and the family you choose. Whether you choose them through friendship or marriage, they become your family. I think it is entirely possible to have a stronger bond with the family you choose, than with the family you are born into. There is nothing wrong with that.
I just want my Gigi to know, that all family is important. Your blood family and your chosen family. Life is short, and even if you are blessed with a long life, it is still short. I think it is important to live life fully, and make as many memories as you can. One of the best ways to make memories, with your family, is to have gatherings. Holiday gatherings, Summer gatherings, birthday gatherings, just because gatherings. Just make sure you get together.
Gigi, once you are older, and you go back an read the blogs I have written, I hope you pay close attention to this post. I am going to share with you, so recent revelations I have had, thanks to the clarity Papa Charlie's death gave me.
1. Holidays are important. You will have some holidays you love more than others, but any of them can (and should) be a reason to get together with your family and friends. Don't always expect other people to organize gatherings. Organize some yourself. Communicate with your family. Let them know you want to get together. Potlucks are awesome, and often that can solve the food part of a gathering, and food is a great thing to have. Pick a holiday, and make it yours. Maybe you can host the yearly Fourth of July gatherings. July 4th is a week after your birthday. So, do a combination birthday celebration and July 4th celebration.
This advice goes for everyone. I know hosting a get together can be stressful. Just trust me on this, once the planning is over, and the actual get together starts, the stress will most likely vanish. I doubt you will ever regret getting those you love together. I can tell you for a fact, if someone you love dies, you will regret all the family gatherings you could have organized, but never did. I wish I had had so many more celebrations with my dad. So many missed opportunities to make memories.
2. Say you are taking my advice, and you are hosting a family gathering, and the stress is becoming overwhelming.... Ask for help, delegate, keep it simple. A family gathering does not need to be a major event, to be wonderful. Just getting together with those you love, catching up, and enjoying food, makes for a wonderful get together. Of course, if you are able to go a bit big, and not stress over it or go broke, then go big. For as long as I am alive, I will happily help you in any way.
I think this is important for all of us to remember... If the stress of organizing a get together, is becoming too much, as for help. That is what family and friends are for. I know, I personally, would be happy to help our with a family gathering. Just the reward of making memories with my loved ones, would be worth it. Sometimes, we tend to take on too much, and we let ourselves stress out, rather than asking for help. So, next time... Ask for the help. We live in a tiny house, and having a bunch of people over, just isn't possible. If another family member, were willing to host at their home, I would happily help with getting all the details to fall into place.
3. Family is everything, but not every family member is a healthy influence. So, you have to be wise. Keep the family that positively affects your life, close, and keep the rest at arm's length. I have realized that just because you are related to someone, does not make them good for you. I have also realized, that you don't turn your back on family. You just get wise about how you treat them. Follow your heart, and when in doubt talk to your parents. Gigi, no matter what, your father and I will always have your back.
Just remember, people change. Sometimes, the changes are for the better, and other times they changes are bad. Keep your heart open. Also, keep in mind what I said... Some family is by blood, and other family is by love. Both are important. Both will shape your life. Both should be included in gathering.
4. Not all family gatherings need to be planned out in advance. Sometimes, you will find that some of your best memories, are from gatherings that happened at the spur of the moment. Embrace those gatherings, just as much as you embrace the gatherings that are planned to the tiniest of details.
I strongly recommend embracing opportunities to make memories with your family, whether they are impromptu or planned, whether they are small are large, and whether they are for specific events/holidays, or simply just because.
5. Drama. It happens. My best advice is to not fuel fires. Let drama die. It may seem important now, but the biggest likelihood, is that you will come to a time when you realize it was pointless drama. Do not let pointless drama, keep you from having the best possible relationships and memories with your family.
I cannot stress this one enough. One thing I did learn from my Daddy passing away, is that I spent way too much time, dwelling on things that did not even matter. Focus on the love. Focus on the positives. Spend your energy on making good memories. Don't sweat the small stuff.
6. Do not just make memories, but make traditions. Traditions you can enjoy, and traditions you can pass down to your younger family memories, and maybe even to your own kids one day. Traditions are awesome and they are fun. So, make them.
I wish I had more traditions to hand down to Gigi. The good thing is, I can start making them now. We can create them together, and she can keep them going with the future generations.
If you take nothing else from this, take this.... Family gatherings. Have them, enjoy them, and make memories.
There you have it, my take on Family Gatherings. Now, go see what the rest of my fabulous blogging friends have created for you.
Find the rest of this month's Blog with Friends posts here:
Dawn of Spatulas On Parade
Melissa Robinson of My Heartfelt Sentiments
Lydia of Cluttered Genius
I so agree with you, family is everything and making traditions is so important. I love that my boys have grown up with a mixture of the traditions I grew up with and those I made. I'm sure they will make their own to add to the mix too.ReplyDelete
So lovely and so important. I am guilty of letting myself get overwhelmed instead of staying in the moment.ReplyDelete