Monday, February 20, 2012

A view from the couch

It's been quiet on the blogging front because I've been busy. Really busy. By that I mean, I've been lying around on couches with my knees up to lift weight from my lower back. However, if one has to lie around for a holiday weekend, I can think of no better place and no better company than where I found myself these last five days.  This Presidents' Weekend marked the second annual winter get-together of my siblings and assorted kids. This year we gathered at the property on Whidbey Island that so featured in our childhoods, so much so that  each of us undoubtedly wrote about it in some "What I did over the summer" essay at least once.  This last weekend, there was such an influx of my family coming at various times that E actually made a spread sheet so we could keep straight how many would be at each meal, and how we'd fit all these now adult bodies plus one adorable baby (the first of the next generation!) into this one bedroom cabin (plus a buck shed!) during rainy February. It was quite a feat.

Last Thursday before I tried driving south to the cabin, I went to a Physical Therapy appointment, where the therapist listened to my symptoms, did a few tests and tried to get me to stay home. She believes I have bulging discs in serious peril of rupturing. Rupture, smupture, I said. I told her I'd lie flat on my back but I was going! I told her I had siblings coming from eastern Washington, California, Massachusetts, and Siberia, so I certainly wasn't going to miss it from as short a distance as I live. "Is your family the kind that helps?" she asked. I laughed. Shoot, they're ridiculously helpful. My youngest sister can't stay out of the kitchen. And her kids, too. Well, come to think of it, everyone pitched in...except that baby and me. And that baby, JR? He did exactly what he was supposed to do--grin and giggle and talk and make everyone laugh with him. He was our chief entertainment, was a good sport when he was passed from pillar to post and back again. It was wonderful to have a baby in that old cabin again, taking a bath in a little tub, just like his mother and grandmother had before him.  Hmmm, come to think of it, every single one of us who was there this weekend (who hasn't married in) once was a baby who took a bath in a tub in that old kitchen.

While I was on the couch, my family swirled around me, playing games, going to the bluff, playing basketball on the court, going down to the beach, driving off to do some clamming, cooking, eating, talking and eating some more. We took out old family stories, dusted them off and passed them around a time or two--as usual. Teased each other a little (a lot?!) and listened to real stuff as well. It's always that kind of mixed bag. We stayed away from politics (mostly!) and veered away from touchy subjects (I think). And one night at dinner, my youngest brother asked us to say who we wished could be with us, and I was awed by the way we completed our family, right there at that table. Filling out the missing places with the other cousins who hadn't been able to come, the sisters-in-law our daughters have come to love, the son still in college, the husband calving. It would do our parents proud that we still like to be together, that they raised such a family.

And so we decided that this will be a yearly tradition. So mark your calendars, family. Next year in...

And maybe by then I'll be the one in the kitchen, and RE can be on the couch.
But I wouldn't count on it. These two photos were taken by RE last fall when she, the Dump and I were out at the cabin for the weekend--it was then that we came up with the plan for this lovely mini-reunion. It was a good plan, a plethora of riches in the time shared. I love you all.

If you're interested in some more photos, head over to E's blog:

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