Last week was great, despite the heat wave. My whole family got together in Gatlinburg, TN, from Sunday July 24 to the next Saturday. The occasion: my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Fifty is a big deal. We rented a huge chalet able to hold all 18 of us, and just hung out together. We did puzzles, hit outlet malls, visited Gatlinburg’s wonderful Aquarium, went hiking, went swimming, made big breakfasts and suppers at the lodge (lots of grilling), and generally had a wonderful time. That’s the whole bunch of us up below, in front of the chalet. Pam and I are on the far right, and my parents are standing beside us.
I’m the oldest of three brothers. From my family, it was just me and Pam, because that’s all there is, beyond Jordi and Molly, our cats, who wouldn’t have enjoyed the trip. Stu, the middle brother, was there with his wife, Joyce, and all four kids. And those kids all brought “someone special,” that being two girlfriends, one girl friend, and one boyfriend. Then there was Rick, with wife Dorene and two young children.
When I told people about this trip beforehand, it wasn’t unusual to hear, “Do you get along?” Mom said she heard that question several times, too. Yes, we all get along. I guess that’s unusual. Which is sad.
The trip was probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Before long, Stu’s kids could be going different directions, and work schedules can be an issue. But last week, we pulled it off. And it was a hugely memorable vacation.
On Thursday night, we sat around reminiscing about our childhood years, and generally just affirming Mom and Dad as parents, grandparents, and as a couple. And a lot of what we talked about concerned spiritual matters. All of us are Christians. All of us are highly involved in local churches.
As I told my parents on that Thursday night, to an extent they “lucked out.” I’ve known other great Christian parents who had kids go astray. The fact that me and my brothers turned out right and didn’t go through rebellious periods doesn’t mean they were better parents, necessarily. There are no doubt issues with our personalities that made us easy to raise or more passive than most, and perhaps other factors. But there was still a bedrock of darn good parenting. And for that, I’m extremely blessed.Leave a comment