I’ve been known to become nostalgic, especially during the holidays. Life has changed so much during my lifetime. As a kid, almost our entire extended family lived in the same community. My dad had two brothers, one of which had four kids. My mom had five brothers and a sister and there were a ton of cousins. In the early years, we all went to my grandma’s home for Thanksgiving. In later years, mom would host the whole gang at our home. I remember Thanksgiving Dinners when there were so many people in our small home that to use the bathroom, you’d have to go out the front door, run to the back door to be able to make your way to the facilities.
I couldn’t find any pictures of the old Thanksgiving Dinners but this same kind of crowd from a backyard summer picnic represents what size of family gatherings we had on a fairly regular basis.
I remember Christmas Eve, carpooling around town to drop in on family members and then off to another and another.
Those were some amazing experiences that are great memories today.
But life continues, doesn’t it? In our society many go off to college and then pursue careers in many different parts of the country. I’m guessing it is rare for an extended family to stay in the same community today. One by one, we move off to follow our dreams. One of the consequences of this lifestyle is extended family becomes very extended. I have cousins scattered to the four corners of the USA. My own children are scattered. We still have a small nucleus of the family in the Williamsport, PA area where we grew up but only a remnant of what used to be.
Somehow in our scattered world we need to create festive holiday traditions that will be great experiences now to be reflected on as great memories down the road. Today’s experiences create tomorrow’s memories. Where ever you find yourself, take initiative to gather family and friends. Life is too short to do otherwise!