Expanding family solves problems of not enough room with creative solutions.
When people ask the question, “How many grandchildren do you have?” I usually hear an audible gasp when I answer “twenty-five and one great-granddaughter.” It is usually followed by, “OH, I bet your holidays are crazy!” And yes, they are, they are crazy, loud, chaotic and wonderful!
There have been some growing pains. Our house is not very well constructed for big family get-togethers. I do not have a basement and pretty much no yard but there is a wonderful circle that passes through the kitchen, hall and dining room that was just made for little feet to run races around and around. As the numbers increased, so did the noise and chaos. At one time we had fourteen kids aged six and under!
For the most part, it was handled pretty well, but there were a few who just couldn’t handle it all and could become pretty (very) grumpy. We decided we had outgrown having get-togethers in the house and tried it at different halls. Some liked that, some hated it because it didn’t feel like home. I agreed but I didn’t know what else to do. I dreaded the holidays, trying to find something that would please everyone was virtually impossible.
Like almost everything else in life, time has a way of fixing things. The grandkids of course got older which reduced the chaos immensely. Last Thanksgiving, my daughter Stacie came and helped me get my house “kid-ready” and it worked out wonderfully. We made a play-room out of one of the spare bedrooms and moved the toys out of the living room where all the men hung out. We set up a video-game room where “boys” from age thirty down had a ball. Mark and I bought enough long tables and chairs to seat all forty of us instead of most everyone tying to balance a plate on their knees sitting on a couch. We also decided a couple years ago to take turns hosting Christmas and whoever the host is can decide where to have the celebration and put special touches on it to make it their own. So far it has worked out really well.
My daughter Karen is very good about having the whole clan over to her house. She amazes me really. She hosted all of us for the 4thof July and last night, just six days later, she held her Annual Cousin-Camp where she has every family over for swimming, water-sliding and competitive games complete with prizes, and an overnight camp-out. The kids love every minute of it!
Last night once it turned dark, she gathered the noisy little crowd around her and amazingly they quieted down as she told them to always remember how lucky they are. How big a blessing it is to have this ginormous extended family, where there are as many as five other cousins close to your age to be best friends with, who will always be there for you, who will have your back no matter what.
Then her and her husband aimed a projector at the side of the house to show the slideshow she had made to the song “We Are Family” of all of them as newborn babies together, sleeping together, playing together, trick-or-treating together, etc. The kids laughed, cheered, and repeatedly screamed out “I remember that!” Needless to say, Grandma spent the entire slideshow wiping her eyes and whispering “Thank You, Lord!” over and over again.