No, we weren’t playing poker. Oh, there might have been a deck of two of cards in evidence over the weekend, but the game of choice in our family is usually Toledo Run. Since our family is scattered up and down the eastern coast, most of us had to travel. And most of us stayed at Lori and Nick’s home. So, it was more than just a full house – it was packed. Kids on air mats, adults on pull-out couches, the host kids on the floor in their parent’s bedroom so visiting aunts and uncles and cousins had a place to sleep.
We could find rooms in local hotels, but where would be the fun in that. Instead, the day begins with the waking of the first child, with coffee and bagels in our pajamas, cramming as many minutes with each other as possible into the day or days we are together. And it generally ends with the previously mentioned cards around the dining room table after most of the kids have crashed.
As always when our family gathers there’s lots of excitement, kids running and giggling, and sometimes getting into trouble. The kind of trouble cousins always seem to cook up together. Often the guys gather around whatever game is in season on TV. And there’s always lots of great food and cameras catching all the best moments to save for posterity. We often talk about posterity as if he were another guest but looking back on similar gatherings in the past is always fun and made that much more fun when photos are dragged out to remind us how quickly the kids grow up or how young we all once looked.
(That's Rebecca back when she and Joe were just married. Then, Lori, Rebecca and Alex - Lori must have been about 12 then. And me and my husband Cal with the oldest four, Jeff, Bobbi, Rebecca and Alex. Lori was a twinkle in her daddy's eye at the time.)
This particular family event was Emily Catherine’s baptism. My grandmother’s christening gown, which was made in the 1800s, was carefully washed and every inch of lace and linen ironed for the big day. Tables were set up and food set out for the party afterward – All Nick’s family, who live close enough to come for the day would be doubling our numbers. Considering it was a private baptism, a remarkable portion of the pews were filled in this big church. My new grandson-in-law and another granddaughter’s boyfriend were recruited for altar-boy duties which they carried off with aplomb. And Emily Catherine became the newest member of Christ’s family.
We were fortunate that in spite of the time of year and the unusually snowy winter, everyone was able to get there and home without weather related problems. Now we’re all looking forward to our family week at the lake this summer.