Family ~ Where We First Learn Social Skills And How To Become A Part of CommunityTimes of wall to wall cousins sleeping in a bedroom in the back part of the summer home my grandparents had in the mountains of Colorado are among my happiest memories. Nighttime in that old house was the time we giggled ourselves silly, told scary ghost stories, had tickle fights, tattled on each other, cried over slights one of the other had done to us, had pillow fights, jumped on the bed, and got yelled at by our aunts and uncles for being too loud. Grandma would pound on the wall from her bedroom with a broom which meant we better quiet down!
Day times were spent roaming the hills looking for antique bottles, or other treasures left from long ago mining days, or we played on the relic of an old horse drawn wagon from the past that Grandpa had in the front yard, and pretended we were pioneers.
Our parents played card games and had good times while we were all supposed be sleeping in the back room. It was a great joke to take a photo of Grandma French with a big liquor bottle in her hand because she and my grandfather were teetotalers. (Upper photo: The cousins in Victor, Colorado in the late 50's. Aunt Caroline is sitting on the car bumper.) (Uncle Don, Aunt Katherine, Mother, and Grandma French at the dining room table in Victor, Colorado.)
I was born just as World War II was about to end. My first Christmas was spent at Grandma French's house that was one block from my house. My father, serving in the Army, was not at that first Christmas celebration, but my mother is seen sitting in the middle of the family gathering holding me. My father's family was her adopted family, and my Aunt Katherine holding my cousin Donna was my mother's best friend. Also missing from this photo is my Uncle Bob whom was serving in the Marines. Uncle Charles, holding his wife on his lap, was home on leave from the U.S. Army where he had been a paratrooper in Europe.
Family ~ Where We Form A Sense of Identity As We Celebrate Together
My mother's one hundredth birthday party celebration on June 25th of this year provided the perfect opportunity for a long overdue family gathering. She is last surviving member of the family that was the core group of my childhood. My grandparents, my father, and all of my aunts and uncles are now gone. She is the center of the next generation that has carried on the love of gathering together as a family.
A few of my cousins made the trip over to celebrate my mother's birthday. Cousin Diana and husband Steve came for Mother's actual birthday in May, while Cousin Donna came for both celebrations. Cousin Janet brought her daughter and grandchildren with her to celebrate. It was wonderful to have members of my extended family with us on these occasions.
|Donna, Janet with Mother, a champaign toast with family on Mother's birthday,|
Donna, Jim, Diana, Sally, Carol, Keicha, Mother, Michelle, Brittany, Michelle, Tony
Mother's 100th Birthday and Celebration
Family ~ The First To Show Love and Support When The Unthinkable Happens
When Julie died, I will always remember and treasure how we as an immediate family came together. All of my remaining children and their children lived together at daughter Amy's house for much of the traumatic week that followed her death. Those days we bonded deeper than we had ever bonded. We gave each other strength and comfort.
My sister came from California and stayed across the hall from Jim and me with her husband at our hotel. They guided us through the deep waters of grief as we made funeral plans as a family. All of my nieces and nephews, the cousins of my children, came to Colorado from California, Massachusetts, Texas, Nevada, and parts of Colorado. Only Michael serving in Afghanistan was not there. Their tears, their stories, their laughter, their love provided balm to our broken hearts that no one else could have provided. I love these kids so much! I have the most amazing nieces and nephews.
Family ~ Where You Can Always Feel At Home
We are so fortunate to still have the home my parents lived in when my children were small as home base. This place represents the family home to all. Toys, books, and other items from days gone by are still there. My son Ryan went to get his wife a drink of water and came back proudly holding the prize cup from childhood days. "I couldn't believe it when I saw this still in the cupboard," he said as he handed his wife some water.
On the day of the family party to celebrate my Mother's 100th party, after the invited guests departed, the family gathered to eat and have fun. There was music. It was time to dance and have a good time.
|Grandson Bridger, grandniece Gabby, grandson Mason, grandson Atticus, granddaughter Hannah|
|Son Ryan and wife Sheridan, daughter Keicha, Jim, Sally, daughter Amy, son Jonathan and wife Samantha|