Hubby, Sweetie and I just got back from an overnight trip with my side of the family. We went to Colchester, CT to see this. Not exactly our idea of a dream vacation, but it's what my dad wanted. He and mom (and occasionally one or more of my brothers) have gone to the last several annual events.
But this year Dad wanted us all to go. And so we did. All 20 of us - 22 including my uncle and his girlfriend who came down for the day. Mom, Dad, brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews. Throw in the oldest niece's and nephew's significant others and you've got yourself one big family.
So the show itself was more interesting than I thought it would be. About 200 acres of trucks, tractors, piles of dirt for the earth movers to move, vendors and food. It was a gorgeous day and, with a play area for the younger kids, we were able to entertain ourselves there for quite awhile.
But for us the best part came later, when we all went out for a big family dinner, then back to the hotel for some pool time before turning in for the night. Sweetie was ecstatic that her bed game could be swimming. This, from a girl who's never been in anything deeper than a back yard kiddie pool (well, if you don't count a quick dip in the lake with Daddy when she was 7 or 8 months old)!
She did great! No fear at all. And while the whole lot of us had fun playing Keep Away and generally rough-housing in the water, everyone from her Daddy, to cousins, to aunts and uncles and boyfriends and girlfriends took a gentle turn with Sweetie and her younger cousin - holding them, playing with them, and keeping a close watch on them to make sure they were safe, happy and out of harms way.
I swam some as well - something I haven't done in literally 10+ years. But I did escape the water before the real craziness set in. At that point I soaked in the hot tub before joining mom, dad and my oldest brother as they watched the action from the sidelines.
Sitting there, taking it all in - all the splashing, all the loudness, all the joy, fun and excitement going on - I was struck by the true magic of the moment.
Wow. This is everyone. We're all here, right now, in the moment.
I remember visiting my grandparents in MA when I was a little girl. I grew up in OH and so every summer we'd drive up for a week or two of vacation. All of my dad's side of the family lived (and still do live) in MA so this was the time, once a year, when we could all finally get together and visit for awhile.
I remember the adults often talking amongst themselves, marvelling in the fact that - this is it, we're all here. This is everyone. None of us would be here if not for my grandparents. Without them starting their family of 4 boys, none of the rest of us would be here - at least not in this place at this time.
And so we've come full circle. Now, as a grown woman with a family of my own. Now, as the youngest member of my immediate family with all my older brothers married with children. Now, with my oldest niece and nephew who are young adults/older teenagers forming their own relationships and placing the building blocks for their own futures. I see the magic again. I see what we've become and who we are - all because of the love my parents have for each other and for all of us.
This is it.
This is memory making.
This is family.
This is all we need.
This is truly magical.