A couple of months ago, I texted a picture of the first page of an old diary to my siblings and parents. It was the first page describing an adventure that started forty years ago when our family began traveling in a music.
My innocent text started a group texting adventure that has continued throughout the entire fall and has, in many ways, drawn our family even closer. I’ve loved reading the random jokes, the references to old memories, the details of my siblings’ lives. And seeing the pictures of each small accomplishment or happening.
And the closer we get to Christmas and the time we plan to spend together, the more the messages fly, some by e-mail. Although we will miss three of our sisters (Julia, Becky, and Joanna) at this gathering, the planning continues forward.
“Can everyone choose a dish to make for the Christmas meal and let me know what you’re bringing?” asks Jennifer, one of our best organizers. She also sends a schedule of the day, listing activities with their appropriate times. Later, she e-mails that Mom desires us to bring our own coffee. Makes sense.
Matt is put in charge of the activities. Along with music performed by family members, a list of old skits (performed at camps and churches across the country) is trotted out:
- The King and I
- Holding Up the Wall (very original name, complete with a stellar set of props: boards, poles, strings, sticks)
- A skit by Deborah where she acted like a little girl with pony tails (huh?)
- A skit where Jon fights against God, narrated by Jennifer (gotta see this one)
- A skit where Deborah and Jennifer are on the same cruise–Deborah is a country bumpkin in third class and Jennifer is an elegant lady in first class
“Jon, could you do “A Peach in the Orchard”? asks Matt.
“Not sure I could pull it off, but I could try,” Jon says. (This is an old family favorite, usually performed by Pat Cassidy, a family friend and an amazing actor. He traveled with the family in the early days.)
Conversation switches to the gift exchange and devotional and Christmas breakfast. But the group texting has connected us in more ways than we may know. It has become a prayer chain, a bulletin board, a newsletter of all the highlights of our lives. When Brad and Deborah’s plans change (due to a health crisis in their extended family) and they have to leave early, we re-arrange the schedule to still include them–and no one seems to miss a beat.
I’m sure I will be somewhere in the midst of all the insanity, smiling and talking and mentally taking notes of all that I see. Quietly observing when no one knows. (Shh. Don’t tell anyone.) I will savor every minute, knowing this might be the last time I see some of my favorite people for a long time.
Once when I was taking a Creative Writing class in college, I attempted to describe a family reunion at our cabin with a cinquain. (I apologize for the lack of space between stanzas–apparently WordPress does not care for my spacing.)
Here’s a snapshot of our gatherings. Enjoy.
Swarming kids of
Every single size and shape.
Rafters ringing with energy–
Sharing news, snatching bites–
Platters heaping, coffee brewing–
Strumming, children dancing,
Temples throbbing–music’s madness.
I hope your family celebration is filled with love and laughter. Merry Christmas!