We spent 4th of July weekend at the Keating family reunion which included my Grandma, who we call Mama, my Aunts and Uncles, many of my cousins and spouses and their children, my siblings, and Jamie, who was brave enough to join me. We stayed at Uncle Tom and Aunt Lori’s home which is surrounded by lots of beautiful wide open spaces complete with a garden, chickens, and pig pen. Elly enjoyed the country life. What kid wouldn’t? The possibilities are endless with all that space to roam and imagine.
We played corn hole, ate lots of good food, heard many a story, had a sing along, fed chickens, visited a country store with the best pies on Earth, watched fireworks (which we discovered terrify Elly), and celebrated being Keatings. The men, including my blogging husband, shot rifles one day (this also scared Elly, she must have inherited my liberal genes) to show us how manly they are.
Here’s Jamie being manly again by helping cousin James move the smoker.
When I was young my Grandparents lived in a similar place and we spent a lot of time there. I was allowed to wander the land along with my cousins, virtually adult free, although we later found out they always had an eye on us, the nerve. Along with family trips to the Outer Banks, this was the place where most of my favorite childhood memories occurred. Camping, fishing, following creeks as far as we could, playing games around a fallen tree, using our imaginations constantly as we explored the nature around us. I am so grateful for all of those experiences and the family that surrounded me on each visit to what we called ‘The Farm’.
At the reunion I tried to soak in as much as I could, listening to stories and enjoying each individual there. I have a lot of love, respect and admiration for my relatives. They each have talents and qualities that I admire. Aunt Lori is my new entertaining idol, the way she was able to flawlessly prepare delicious meal after delicious meal for that large a group boggles my mind! But, boy did my pregnant self enjoy all that food. I’m a little scared for my ob appointment weigh-in later this week. My cousins make raising multiple kids look like a breeze, I definitely took some mental notes.
As a kid I loved being around Mama, my aunts, uncles and cousins and that hasn’t changed now that I’m an adult. My only wish would be that I saw them more often and that those who weren’t able to be there, come to the next reunion. I am already looking forward to it, especially since I will have another (Keating) Mottram to introduce to the happy group.
For all the elementary school teachers and parents with young kids out there, my reunion weekend made me think of this book; The Relatives Came. It’s a great one to read to your little ones as they will surely be able to relate to the family in the story who visits their relatives out in the country one summer.