Thirty family members gathered in Arizona this past weekend to celebrate Mom’s 100th birthday! Close to one third of those thirty were eight and under.
Like in any family, there was lots going on (some of it happy, some worrisome). Lots of opinions, lots of noise, lots of indoor and outdoor fun filled the weekend .... plus chats, games, songs and stories amidst the candle lighting, good wishes, cake and frosting!
When it came time yesterday to say our goodbyes and head off to our far-flung homes, I felt re-tethered…..and fuller …. from more than just all that birthday cake.
Our family has been deeply blessed by this amazing woman. Now our matriarch, she decided as an only (and lonely) child, that she would set her sights on having a big family. And after college and teaching school, that is exactly what she did. Family has always been one of her highest priorities.
Yet, about fifteen years ago... at age 85-ish, she said to me,
“What have I accomplished in my life? What important thing have I done?”
Surprised and a bit saddened at her question, I quickly replied,
“Mom, you raised five children who love you, who love each other, and who love being together!"
I think she took that in at some level back then, but I think she really got it Saturday night as we sang and told stories and surrounded her with the reality and substance of this Important Thing she decided so many years ago to set her sights on and now has accomplished.
She taught us that Family is a huge blessing in our lives. Do we always agree? No. Are there grumblings and jealousies? Sure. Are there differing views about life, the way to do things, right and wrong, politics and God....oh my, yes.
But somehow there is this ever present tether to one another - a bit like the rope a farmer ties between the barn and his back door before the blizzard…something to hold on to, something solid and ever present to give support despite the grumblings, disappointments or differing opinions….and during the blizzards.
Something solid and sacred and Important.
Today I am deeply grateful that she did this Important Thing with her life.
And I am wondering how I am doing with the Important Things in my life.