This is certainly not the first time my extended family has come together for an Easter Dinner. In the past, when this gathering has taken place, it has been at my mom’s house. This year, for the first time, my niece, Ashley, and her husband, Jon, hosted our lively and boisterous group at their home in Broken Arrow, OK.
What a joy to celebrate together in Jon and Ashley’s new home! And by new, I mean, brand new. Ashley and Jon recently moved into a house that they had built. It’s a big, attractive home, made beautiful and enchanting by those who inhabit it and use it as a backdrop for their creativity and passion for life. My sister, Debbie, lives with her daughter and son-in-law and their two adorable sons, Ethan and Kaleb. Debbie has her own suite at the top of the house, with her own mail basket and even her own doorbell! I love the way this little family shares space, living and playing together under one roof.
Today, this sweet couple opened wide their arms and the door to their home, and welcomed in 10 other members of the family. While each of us brought something to share for the dinner, Ashley and Jon did the majority of the food prep and cooking, working as a team. As they put the finishing touches on the meal, the rest of us pulled up chairs around the kitchen island, munching on veggies and a venison sausage roll while we chatted and laughed. One of the things I love most about my family is that when we gather, we share our stories, the good, the bad, the sad, the hilarious. My mom, as the matriarch of this bunch, presided over us all. It was a special treat for her today to NOT be cooking the meal. She did bring her famous chocolate meringue pies.
Jon joined two dining tables together so that we could all eat in the same room. The two youngest members of the family present today shared a little table nearby. But soon, they had joined us, sitting side by side at the head of the larger table. We felt a little like the Walton Family as we passed around the wonderful food. Everything was delicious and Ashley made sure there was something for everyone, even those of us limiting our sugar intake. Conversation flowed around the table along with the homemade noodles and mashed potatoes.
It was a great Easter day, spent with amazing people. We missed those who couldn’t be there, because of work or other commitments. Everyone in our family knows there is always a place saved for them and they join in as they are able to. Erica Lorraine Scheidt says, “It doesn’t matter what story we are telling, we’re telling the story of family.” As our family grows, the stories shift to include the spouses, the children that are loved as completely as those born into family, and of course, the new babies. The stories are links to the past, and build bridges to the future. And at the heart of all the tales, and this family, abides loyalty and strength and a deep, sustaining love.
Kaleb and Weston