Sunday, May 8, 2011
First Communions, Families and Fondant
This weekend was the first of 3 First Communions for our family. When we began scheduling these events, my dad's only concern was that no two were on the same weekend. There are 3 grandkids making their First Communions and only 1 grandpa. My family is spread across every time zone. We span California, Colorado, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. Between careers and after-school activities, it is hard to schedule family gatherings but we do the best we can. As my sister-in-law once observed, most of our family photos involve fishing trips, graduations, baptisms, and First Communions. Our family enjoys celebrating the important moments in a family's life together. We believe in being there for each other. My parents have always put a premium on family time. Our grandparents came for dinner every Sunday. When all 6 of us were in graduate school or college, my dad faithfully made the rounds each year to visit all of us. We came home for every holiday. He flew or drove to every graduation. He encouraged us to keep in touch with each other. When I followed my brother to college, he checked in with me weekly. My dad made sure the two of us had dinner together weekly. My parents raised us to be the same way.
My nephew made his First Communion this weekend. As always, our family showed up in full force. If you serve cake, we will come. These are not considered command performances or obligations. We show up willingly. A big family gathering with Diet Coke, cake and a deli tray? Sign us up!! For the record, my niece showed up with 4 impacted wisdom teeth and bagful of Advil to get her through. She is a trooper. I even got to have ice cream twice in one evening. First, I HAD to take my nephews out for frozen dairy treats. I'm a dutiful and loving aunt. It was my duty, right? Then my niece and sister-in-law came to town and needed a tour. Is it my fault the 2nd ice cream store was on the way back to the hotel?
I've been lucky to be very involved in my nieces' and nephews' lives. I've literally watched them grow up. I know what sports they play, what foods they hate, what sports figures they admire, and their favorite books. I love being there for their accomplishments. My nephew, who HATES getting dressed up, was very handsome and composed. (I hope he never reads this). I recognized every smirk on his face. I knew his squirms on the altar meant he was embarrassed and wanted people to stop looking at him. I knew if I kissed him, he'd wipe it off as soon as my back was turned. As soon as family photos were done, he "de-dressed" into shorts and proceeded to cartwheel (literally) around the house like a hostage freed.
Next weekend will be Sara's turn. The family will show up again and make her feel special. We even got my aunt to come in from Florida to surprise her. Family will drive the Indiana and Ohio turnpikes and survey the cornfields for miles and miles. They will do it for a deli tray and a fondant cake. They will do it for family. Because that is what families do.