Family Reunion {Oh, Sweet Memories}

Monday, June 8, 2015

I have vivid memories of our family reunions from my childhood. 
It was always one of the highlights of my summer. 

Once a year, we would gather for a weekend at the family farm. 
At one time, only a gravel road led us there. It is secluded and peaceful.
Well peaceful the other 51 weekends out of the year. 

There were simple tents pitched to elaborate campers pulled in. 
It was where you went to bed to the hum of the cicada and rose with the smell of bacon being cooked over the campfire stove. The early birds always got the worm. 

There were fresh, homemade donuts dripping with gooey glaze. 
And of course when dinner rolled around, the plywood table covered in vinyl cloth was overflowing with anything you could imagine. But, you knew not to fill yourself too full because just as the evenings would wind down, there would be roasted marshmallows for sticky smores and bowls piled high with homemade fresh churned vanilla ice cream. 

There were intense games of Uno, slip-and-slides, and water balloons. 
And for a couple of years, the younger generation blessed the older generation with a production of some sort. We handed out tickets and programs and one was pretty much required to come because there was no place to escape. I remember one year my oldest brother directing us in a rendition of The Wizard of Oz. I'm certain it was nothing short of agonizing to have to sit through but there were never complaints. 

There were pictures taken in the same tree year after year and giggles because Great Aunt Max always had the biggest, floppiest hats. There was a hayride and horseback rides. And a stop off at the same creek for wading and crawfish catching. 

Though the gathering has gotten smaller over the years, 
this past weekend still brought many of those same memories. 

As I about to put my toes in the wading creek, I hear a little voice call for me.
I turn to see my cousin's two-and-a-half year old daughter with her hand out stretched wanting me to take hold. I reach for her and she grabs tight. In we wade together. As the cool water began to reach her thighs, she kicked and splashed, and squealed with shrill delight.  

And in that moment, I felt it. 
As she clung tight to my left, I longed to look down to my right and see my Addy's hand in mine. Oh what would it be like to have her there too? To share with her memories that I cherish. To experience the pure joy from my beloved that radiated from my cousin's daughter. 

As my heart stung, I looked down on the creek bed and there was a rock, the perfect shape of a heart. I picked it up and held it tight in my right hand. 

Since Addy's passing, my mom has collected heart shaped rocks. To her, they are little signs of our Addy with us. Wading in the creek, aching for my daughter, a simply yet perfect little rock put my heart at ease. 

My Addy, she is with us.
She is with us always. 

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