Little Bytes of Life was a life saver. Her Genealogy Blog Party, gave me the push I needed to get back to my blog. Without further a do... on with the story...
When the Hero and I were married, my parents lived in Oklahoma and his parents were 30 minutes away. My mother-in-law sat down and talked with me and it was decided that the holidays would be split. Reminds me of how my daughter who is divorced has their holidays split. One year it would be Thanksgiving at Oklahoma one year and Christmas at Houston, then the next it would be reversed. This continued all the years of my children's growing up.
The trips to Oklahoma were always more that just a trip to see my parents. It would then be, on Thanksgiving day, a two hour trip from Edmond up to Pawnee. There we visited my two aunts and uncle. Fabulous memories. The Hero developed relationships with my dad's family which led to letters and sharing of memories. Things I didn't fully realize at the time would be so valuable now. I wish he were here with his fun mind to tell the stories. The gatherings were very informal. To my knowledge (note to self, as mom) no one assigned the side dishes, everyone brought what was their favorite. As they came in they would put their dish on the table with the rest of the spread of food. When the main meat dish was ready, people filed in and loaded up their plates, then found a spot to sit and eat. The men loved the football games same as now, and there were hunting stories from their excursions earlier in the morning. There was one draw back. Due to a family spat, we would go and visit each of my dad's siblings separately. When I was growing up, it was all his siblings together with their kids in tow. Now, those were really the unruly days.
Both family gatherings are wonderful. The most important part is the family coming together and the children of those family making connections. If allowed and nurtured, the relationships built will continue when the older generation is gone. That is what we are now working on in our family, hope it sticks. The second and very important thing coming from the gatherings are pictures.