goodess guru

Ziplining automatically makes any family reunion exponentially better.

Our daughter and her family drove across the country to visit us recently. Thank you, kids, for making this huge trip!

We spent a day on a reservoir and a day at an outside shopping mall (all masked up of course) before we all piled in a car, truck, SUV and van to drive to a family reunion in the mountains in the Northwest. (All 19 of us!)

Of course it was soooooo much fun. Traveling with family makes for good jokes about our two-hour wait for burgers in Montana. We laughed until our stomachs ached. (Or was that partially because my kids are foodies and we had gone out for meals four times a day for a few days already?) Of course, the food orders we received were not correct. How could any small burger joint get a 19-person food order correct? But it made for good laughs. “Well, if I was a driver of a white truck I would drink a diet Pepsi, not a huckleberry shake,” one daughter quipped.

We had the usual family delays and difficulties. One family had to stop every 20 minutes for young children to visit bathrooms. One son and his wife worked all night before the trip so they could attend with us. One son started out late because of a job interview. Another daughter told her HR team they would have to wait to interview her for a promotion because she was going out of town.

“Well, we might not interview you,” was the reply. “OK,” she said. This shows the commitment our entire family made to this family reunion. HR did call back with, “Well, we can interview you when you get back.”

We eventually met up at my husband’s brother’s 60-acre property in the mountains with 40-plus other family members. Some of our children had the chance to see cousins they hadn’t seen in over a decade. We played hard — fished and played on paddle boats, kayaks and paddle boards. We hiked and biked mountain trails. We played card games and board games. We rode on a terrific zipline and played the contact sport of volleyball. (With just a few injuries. Nothing a huckleberry shake wouldn’t heal.) We even had church on Sunday for those who wanted to attend.

What a magnificent event! Of course, as with all large families, and especially in a pandemic season, almost half of my husband’s family couldn’t make it this year. They were missed. We hope to see more in a couple of years. This was the first time our own personal clan of currently 19 people was able to make such a trip together. We worked hard. Camping is quite a chore in my book. We played hard. We laughed hard. We bonded and strengthened friendships and family ties. My kids spent an evening interviewing my husband’s parents. What a great chance to hear many great old stories (like the one about great grandpa shooting the star off the Christmas tree).

After recovering from all the family fun, finding my countertops again, getting sheets and towels washed, buying healthy food to replace recreational food; I pondered on this event. I miss being all together already. I realize this 10-day get-together puts life in perspective. Yes, we have to wear masks, work from home, miss out on movies and concerts, and wash our hands to the happy birthday song, but family relationships are the same. We care, we learn, we love and we can still have lots of fun.

Jennifer Sant is a Utah high school teacher, energy wellness coach mother of five and currently grandmother of ten. Contact her at jennifersant801@gmail.com.