This past weekend my siblings and I rented a house in Branson, Missouri for a siblings weekend. This is our second gathering since Covid travel restrictions have lifted. While we were missing one sister, and a couple of the husbands, the rest of us had a lovely, relaxing (except for the long-distance drives for some of them) weekend.
Three of the siblings made the delicious evening meals and we had chicken picata, grilled hamburgers, and meatloaf. Everyone pitched in together to cook and clean up. But the best part for me was the homemade donuts my sister made–because I sort of begged her to make them. Don’t worry–we had some left to take home with us. We played games, laughed together, talked about old memories, and made new ones. We also did the obligatory silly sibling (and in-law) picture together, as well as a more serious one.
We did not go to any shows, eat meals in a restaurant, or any of the other touristy things I usually do when I am in Branson. We sat on the balcony overlooking Table Rock Lake, and talked and talked and talked. Usually when we get together it is for a special occasion or holiday and it is hard to visit with one another during those times. I know we all appreciated the relaxed pace of the weekend, although my brother was bummed when he could not find his college football games on tv.
One of the things I love about our time together is the fact that each of us has their own distinct personality. To say that we are all strong-willed, is somewhat of an understatement. But despite that, we seem to understand each other and allow for our differences. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and believe no one is aware of them like family! But despite that we seem to still love one another. We can certainly squabble like most siblings do, but beneath it all is an abiding love of family and a respect for who we are.
We were lucky to have parents who disciplined us, taught us the value of hard work, and most of all, loved us. The dynamics of our family changed after Dad, and then Mom, passed away. We all lead busy lives and are not together as much as we were in the past. We each have our own families that are integral parts of our lives. We are finding that unless we make a deliberate plan to be together, time slips by and suddenly we look up and it has been months since we have seen each other. Our sibling weekend is a commitment that we will always try to make a place in our lives for one another.
I realize that there are some of you out there that have families that are fractured and highly dysfunctional. And in all honesty, my heart aches for those individuals I know who are caught up in the drama that some families can bring. But for me, I realize that my family is where God placed me. They helped shape and mold me and I am grateful for that gift. So here is to many more sibling weekends together as long as God allows!
“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” –Desmond Tutu