Saturday, July 4, 2009

How to spend a lazy summer afternoon

Yesterday was perfectly delightful. It all started with an email from my Aunt Phyll a few weeks ago. She was wondering what my plans were for the 4th of July weekend, and did they include time at the lake? She knew most would have a 3-day weekend, and wanted to spend some time at Grandma's house. Before I go further, let me say that our family has been spoiled for a long time. My grandparent's built their house on Perrin Lake about 50 years ago. Since then innumerable people have enjoyed time at their house. The house is nice, but the yard and the water are really where the party's at. Literally. There have been quiet afternoons with only 1 or 2 present, summer days spent swimming to the point of being waterlogged, family reunions, holiday parties, baseball end-of-season parties, youth group initiations (now there's another blog or two:), nights spent sleeping on the pontoon in the middle of the lake, and many other long-forgotten excuses to enjoy the company and the surroundings. Few places, if any, rank higher on my list of favorite locations to while away the day.

Yesterday included my Grandma, my Mom and I, Mom's sisters ~Phyll, Chris, and Becky ~ Phyll's son James, several of Becky's kids, and random others that showed up here and there throughout the day. The only planning that really happened was preparing for lunch, which was delicious ~ a few salads, deli-style sandwiches, and lots of fresh fruit. Mostly the plan was to spend time in the sun and with each other. The plan came off without a hitch!

For any that have read The Five Love Languages, quality time is at the top of my list. Activities are great, but I just dearly cherish spending time with those I love the most. Grandma's yard is a great place to do that. It sort of has an upper and a lower portion. The lower part of the yard is by far bigger. That leads to the lake, has a picnic table, a fire ring, and much more space. The upper portion has the porch swing and smaller grassy area. When we got there a few were already sitting on the swing. Rather than move down to the larger area, we just brought the lawn chairs up and sat there. Other than when a few swam out to the middle of the lake and when we ate lunch, we never really moved. We were too busy talking. I've spent countless hours lying in the sun at Grandma's house. I don't think I've ever done it in the yard right beside the garage, but that's what we did yesterday. We were simply too busy talking and soaking up the sun to be bothered moving down to the area where we usually sit.

Life is too busy. We don't often enough just spend time with each other, as families, as women, and generations. When I was a child I remember my Mom and I semi-regularly getting together with the women in my Dad's extended family. I thought it had a name, but I don't remember it now. That group consisted of some Amish women and some who were not. They usually quilted while the kids played. There was always a mouth-wateringly delicious lunch, then we'd all head home late in the afternoon. I don't remember a single one of those quilts. I have no idea who they were for. What I remember we kids having a ton of fun, and the women talking and laughing, buzzing like a bunch of bees. It was time to catch up, share stories, ideas, and much more.

Every time I spend time with women, be it at church, Bible study, a sewing bee, or near the swing at Grandma's house, the concensus seems to be that it is a refreshing time that should happen more often. There's a reason families are designed the way they are, generationally. Really we had 4 generations present yesterday. Grandma, her daughters, my generation, and then the little girls. The little girls are my cousins now (yay for adoptions:), but Zoe is 5 and Ellie nearly 3. (Soon the ages of my Grandma's grandchildren will range from 3-40) Since I'm, well, much older than 5 (not the one almost 40, though:), it's almost like they're nieces, not cousins. There is so much joy and insight to be gleaned from all of those generations. We're all at different places in life, but still had so much in common. Even James, who was the only male a good bit of the day, seemed to thoroughly enjoy lazing the day away with us. I can't say the conversation was particularly profound. At points it consisted of intestinal issues, physical changes, eye infections, and funky toes:) It wasn't really the conversation, though, that was important. It was the time together, and lots of laughter.

My time yesterday only solidified my interest in continuing to make time with my family important. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to spend the rest of the day with my Mom and Dad.


Mary said...

I so agree. I have tried numerous times to interest my girlfriends in sitting around a quilt with me but they all consider it boring. I have not been able to convince them it is not the quilting that is the is the conversation and fellowship that make it great. We have found other ways to sit around and talk of course but it is not often enough.

sherri said...

AMEN and AMEN!! I love this post, Cheryl. I also remember those days as a little girl at the sewings. Family times together like this are so cherished!

heather said...

I think the time spent with your family as a little girl (amish realtives) may have been called a hen party. At least that's what some of the Amish call it around here. :)

I love time spent at Aunt Mary Jane's as well!!!! It's such a peaceful spot and the lake just is the icing on the cake. Great post Cheryl! Missed you at the family Reunion!!!