Recently, Randy and I gathered our six children and their families into one lodge, nestled in a remote area of Arizona, away from any store, restaurant, or amusement park. It was the best reunion we ever had.
At first, we were met with some resistance, the majority voting for the enticing call of the beach, amusement parks, fancy restaurants, and the related glamour. I kept my mind open, considering several nice accommodations, always returning to the simple. I knew the results of such distractions. We would all go our separate ways, meeting at the end of the day, worn out and cranky.
Not knowing when we would be able to gather our chicks together again, I wanted this reunion to be one that even the youngest would remember. It was a risk. Would we be able to set aside the glitter of this world and have fun just being together?
Everyone was a good sport about our decision to simplify, and the planning began. Assigning each family to prepare a special activity covering each day helped eliminate my fear of potential boredom. Little did I know that all we needed was a creek, a tree house, a zip line, and each other.
Due to the proximity of my children, one family living clear across the country, there were young cousins who had never met. Instant bonding occurred as they ventured into the big backyard that was their playground. Never did we hear the words, “We’re bored. What can we do?” No one complained about having to stand in long lines. Not once did anyone text or engage in video games. Our location was so remote, WiFi wasn’t available, and although we did have a large screen TV and DVD player, it was rarely on. For once, the call of the wild and just being together was more enticing.
I watched my children interact as adults, being engaged in deep conversations, working together in the kitchen, intermixed with large doses of laughter and hugs. There were late night talks, ping pong tournaments, handmade boat races down the creek, silly games, attempts to catch crawdads and fish, and making S’mores around the fire pit with only the light of the flames and the stars.
As we gathered the last evening to watch a variety show that featured everything from break dancing to an original piano composition, I marveled at the love and support that filled the room. What more could a mom ask than to see her posterity gathered, being satisfied with what really matters.
It was the best thing we ever did!