Monday, June 17, 2013

Family Time, Unplugged

'I just spent the nicest weekend with my family. It was so nice, I just had to stop and tell you all about it. I'm still working on posts about Hawaii, but while the past few days are still fresh in my mind I'm going to write about them.

My brother and his children came up from the Houston area for a visit. We gathered at my niece's house, three generations. My siblings were there (2 sisters, 1 brother,) most of their children and even a few grandchildren. My oldest sister and her daughter live next door to each other on the same 25 acre tract of land. They have a swimming pool at one of the houses and a guest apartment above the other garage, all collectively referred to as "Carrie's Compound." We split up the cooking duty, with each of the "moms" taking a meal or two over the four-day visit. I brought lunch on Saturday, designed so everything could be eaten with fingers, outside around the pool. There was roasted shrimp, thinly sliced ham and turkey, crusty baguettes, mixed berries, grape tomatoes, watermelon and my Grandma's special ginger/molasses cookies. I brought extra of everything except the shrimp so that they would have some snack items later that evening. Not one crumb was leftover.

It was an unusually mild afternoon for a Central Texas June; the mercury stayed around 90 and the sky a little cloudy, making it very pleasant to sit in the shade of the patio and visit. At various times we swam in the pool, relaxed in the hot tub, sat around and talked, played Rumikube, created giant bubbles and generally had a great time. 

The giant bubble maker
The players of the games changed seamlessly, with people coming and going as they needed. The atmosphere was relaxed and comfortable, with none of the tension sometimes endured when families gather. I was struck by how unplugged we all were. No one was talking on the phone, watching videos or playing electronic games. I, personally, am surgically attached to my iPad, but I left it in my purse all day. I will confess that I used my phone to take these photos and send a couple of text messages to my niece in Hawaii to let her know what we all were doing and that we missed her. I'll also admit that our 16 year old checked her texts a few times, but not very many. I was amazed at how long she just sat, talked and laughed with her dad; it warmed my heart. On another note, our 13 year old was grounded off her phone, else she would have been in constant "text" mode. 

My brother and his 16 year old daughter sat together for ages and just talked. She only checked her phone a few times.

Rumikube action; no batteries or cords required.

Today everyone wanted to go see the new Superman movie, so I opted to stay with "The Baby," our 3 year old Andy. He is my brother's youngest son and the delight of our family, coming along when we didn't think there would be anymore babies. Andy and I were alone together for about 5 hours and had the most delightful time. He is a big chatterbox (ahem, my nephew) so I talked, made up stories, read to and sang with him all day. The television, iPads and movies were all there, but when, personally needing a little break, I asked him if he wanted to watch any of them, he said, "No, let's play." That really amazed me, given how much he is fascinated by the iPad, something I wrote about last year when he was still only two. You can read about it here. 

It just goes to prove again to grownups that what children crave the most is not more stuff, but more time together. And not just being there physically, but participating, even when we are tired and want to turn on the television to babysit for a while. I played all afternoon and ended up coming home so energized that I cleaned and leaf-vacuumed our pool before I collapsed for a nap. It made a memory I'll always have. 

I'll say it again, "Who could resist that face?" Not me for sure.

Thanks for stopping by today. I'll be on a gambling trip with one of my friends, celebrating her birthday, for the next few days. Wish me luck!

1 comment:

  1. Cute kids! My mouth is watering for your Grandma's special ginger/molasses cookies. No carbs in those, right? Also? That giant bubble maker? That's been added to my rather timid bucket list.