Two weekends back we celebrated a fun filled weekend of Flaherty Family! The Flaherty’s are the extended family on my mom’s side. Being one of 7 (right in the middle), this is a BIG family….. 2 Grandparents, 7 Kids, 5 Kid in-laws, 23 Grandkids, 2 Grandkids in-law, and 2 great grandkids. We are all sorts of loud… excited…silly… crazy…full of opinions and with countless stories – that we like to repeat often!
There is not a season in which I can’t recall some sort of family gathering with this group. Growing up as one of the more local families, I have been blessed with the gift of celebrating all occasions from baptisms to weddings together. Any excuse we find ends in some sort of large meal and event that extends well past the expected hours of daylight and is sure to leave you tired, but happy (most of the time).
Being grandchild #3, I was one of the few who was old enough to witness the progression of the family, to experience all the seasons of our life – from Christmases spent on my grandparents dance floor and 4th of Julys at the pool where my mom and her siblings grew up swimming, to Thanksgivings that are now at my parents home or Easter that my Uncle Joe hosts. When we would line up for our favorite holiday parade: the cousin Notre Dame March or form a circle for my favorite Christmas tune: the chicken dance, I am not sure I could have loved life any more at all! We always had a ball and never dreamed that other households weren’t conducting their own sort of dance club or enacting family events that requires my Uncle Sean to dress as a homeless man or in my mother’s wedding dress to enjoy the holidays. These moments were a blast – and I feel blessed to still have enough memories stored away of what pure joy it was to be with my cousins running around the yard or how we would hate to stop the merriment to have to eat or drink…. it just got in the way of the FUN. When people talk about simple memories of happy childhoods, my mind always includes a visit to the Flaherty Family memory box.
Even as a kiddo, I was looking forward to the days that we would grow up and introduce the Flaherty ways to the next wave of family members. I wondered what man I would marry that would accompany me to these must attend events. Would he love them the way I do? Would he understand our traditions (since I have now learned that not every one marches with the Irish or dances like chickens during their holidays)? After he got over the initial intro to how it all works – would they become his family too? What about the next generation of kiddos – what would that be like?
Life… time… new people in our lives – the introduction of each are all tiny miracles. The finding of my husband and the love he has for my grandmother…. the appreciation he has for joining the Flaherty family…. it brings my heart such warmth, such pride, and as we ponder about the future, when he wants to help incorporate what this family has given to us into our family – I know that God has blessed me more than I deserve with this person – this is love.
To look at my cousin’s little ones with signs of our family in their eyes and smiles…. to see them grow, healthy and strong, and share their personalities with us – we are meeting the ones to carry our names and our family into the future – it is incredible…. we used to just play with Cabbage Patch Dolls. These little moments of regular life – barbecuing, catching up on the deck, sitting in the pocket of sun with my Ganmommy – are the things you will cherish and carry with you… and I am so glad on that weekend we got to just do life together….
Friday was a summer hours day for myself and Bridget – who is working over summer at the office – so after a few hours of work logged, we headed to my parents where Jaclyn and her two kiddos – Mason and Mallory – and my Aunt Tama had come for the weekend.
Just hanging around I did not capture too many pictures – or from the late night wine date with my aunt, mom and cousin either….. but it was fun and I love living so close to just pop in on the action!
Saturday some of the family went to the pool…..while I ran errands and Danny rested up since that night was the big BBQ to visit with everyone and celebrate my Aunt’s birthday!!
It just so happens, that my Uncle (my mom’s sister’s husband) was in town for work and also joined us….. with a rental car that was PERFECT for my yellow loving, convertible preferring, 93 year old grandmother.
With relatives in the area – the rule is you can’t eat a meal alone… so Sunday morning it was donuts at our house. Which I LOVED hosting. Again – to know that after years of being a kiddo at people’s homes to celebrate the moments – I was able to fill my house with these same people who have loved me, supported me and watched me become an adult – I felt so honored. Yes, it may appear to be just donuts…. but the reality of Danny and I having a home large enough to open our doors, welcome guests, feed everyone and just enjoy company – I feel rich with blessings.
Danny was certainly feeling rich with blessings…so much so it wore him plum out!! This Sunday happened to be our 6th wedding anniversary – and although we never got a chance to get out that night to celebrate (besides mass together at the church where we said our I Do’s 6 years and 3 hours earlier…. so amazing how life comes back around) – I had already gotten the best gift, he wanted time with my family.
And we ended Monday with a night at the movies seeing The Secret Life of Pets. It was a cute little story and the perfect film for our audience the ranged from 93 years to 16 months…
The kiddos had been awesome through the few days of interrupted sleep, lots of new strangers, tons of sugar….. but I think the award for staying power still is given to Danny. He had enjoyed the weekend and been present so much for everything …. he was really worn out and on Monday had to go to the ER for IV fluids. But once he heard there was going to be a movie with the kiddos before they left…. he rushed the paperwork along and got out in time to be there with us.
It was a great visit and I hope that life only continues to bless us with more time as the Flaherty Family. And today – I post this story at just the right moment to wish my Aunt Tama a big CONGRATULATIONS….she is officially in remission from her fight with cancer. We are blessed!
Thank you for reading and remember to make it a great day!