What Family Reunion Means To Me

I feel like when the term ‘family reunion’ is mentioned it is often met with groans, aversion, and the idea of sitting around awkwardly wishing you were somewhere else.

That is not my family reunion. For the past forty-eight years my family has gotten together for one weekend a year and celebrated the fact that we are here, as a family. We laugh loudly, play games, put on skits and musical numbers (seriously, we have a family band made up of ridiculously talented people), and generally have an amazing time together. I’m not talking ten or twenty people either – we have over a hundred yearly, and some years upwards of two hundred! It is truly one of the highlights of my year. I even wrote my college entrance essays about my family reunion. The experience of it has given me such an appreciation of what family is, and taking the time to recognize how lucky I am to have that.


Our campsite, before my mum arrived.


The view out into the field from our campsite. So beautiful!

I think my most vivid memory of the reunion isn’t so much an event, but a feeling. When I was about six, I remember being at the reunion and asking my mom every time I wanted to leave our campsite and go out and do something in the field (play games, jump in the sandpit, anything). Finally, she sat me down and said, “This weekend there are no rules – you can go where you want here, play with anyone, and have fun!”. As an extremely shy child, that was such a revelation to me. This was a SAFE place, a place where I am constantly surrounded by people I love, a place I can’t get lost and can do anything. That feeling has still stuck with me, eighteen years later.


We’ve started a new tradition where each branch of the family hosts a Happy Hour where we can all chat and mingle together! It’s so great! And although I’m not a drinker, I did have a glass of some amazing Sangria this year.


Some Frisbee with some cousins (and their awesome dog!).

We do so much at each reunion, but my personal favorite part is listening to all the acoustic music around the big campfire at night. My family is so musically talented, and it is amazing to be able to just relax and soak in all the wonderful music. I look forward to it every year!

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My little one participating in the kids pie eating contest.

adults pie eating

Then it’s the adults turn!

plank race

Plank racing, a super fun game that is actually quite difficult. No matter how old, everyone gets in on the fun here!

I absolutely love my family. I love that in such an age of digital communication and social disconnect, we still all take the time to get together in person, and celebrate just being a family. My mum brought me at three months old for my first reunion, and so far I’ve never missed one. Even with twenty six reunions under my belt, I can’t wait until next year already!

Our Annual Family Reunion

I feel like for some people, a family reunion can induce a lot of stress and eye rolling. The complete opposite is true for me – I look forward to our annual family reunion every single year. I have been going for 25 years (I was three months old for my first one and have never missed one yet!). I even wrote my college essay on this particular event and what it means to me.

Family has always been extremely prominent and important in my life, and I love that our whole family feels that way too. We have a HUGE, widespread family, but every year for the third weekend in July we all come together to celebrate how lucky we are to have one another to call family. An average size year means about 130 people show up. We camp in a giant field (all forms of camping – RV’s, pop-up campers, and good old fashioned tents) and spend the weekend making music, playing games, and in general enjoying each others company. How fabulous is that?

Loving the tent.

Bubbles in the field.

My hubs relaxing after setting up the site with my brother.

Having such a large gathering takes a lot of work and coordination. We have officers in our family (President, VP, Secretary, and Treasurer) who each have designated jobs that keep the reunion running smoothly. We have games for the kids with prizes, and we also run a raffle and 50/50 raffle to raise money for further family reunions. I’ve been the family secretary for the past two years, which means I’m in charge of keeping everyone’s addresses up to date, and helping out the President in sending out updates, etc. I love it, and hope to ‘stay in office’ for years to come!

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              A very happy camper!    My brother – such a handsome fellow.

This year one of my cousins organized a special raffle. She had been in Peru volunteering at a girls orphanage and wanted to raise money to send back to them. She was raffling some of her gorgeous photographs and two beautiful handmade cups that the girls in the orphanage had made! I very much wanted one of the cups, and I got it. I literally jumped out of my chair when they called my ticket number! All in all, our family raised $270 to send to the orphanage – not too shabby if you ask me.

The beautiful photos and handmade mugs in the Peru raffle. I won the mug on the left which is the one I wanted, yay!!

My family is also incredibly musically talented. Saturday night is the designated evening for entertainment and it never disappoints. A full band gets up and plays under the tarp, and then later we all move around the big campfire and sing/play guitar acoustic style until the wee hours of the morning. My little miss fell asleep in her camp chair cozied up by the fire listening to the sounds of her cousins singing. Those are the memories I want her to have growing up.

Family band time!

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My miss was just loving the music – she danced the night away, and even had to bring my brother’s girlfriend up to dance with her!

My childhood memories are bursting with different recollections of the reunion, and I can’t wait for my baby girl to be ecstatic about going too. I just love my family!


See you next time!

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