Spending Time with the Important People

This summer we have visited many family members and have plans for another round of visits in the coming weeks. One special weekend involved a reunion of my mother’s family—many of whom I hadn’t seen in seven years. During the weeks approaching I couldn’t contain my excitement at seeing everyone and catching up.

Sure, it was a long drive for a day with family, but it was totally worth it. I’m fortunate to have a loving, supportive family and to enjoy spending time with them. Additionally, I have been embraced by another family through my husband and a bonus group of friends that I have known throughout the years.

Last year my mother mentioned the possibility of her siblings and families gathering for a reunion and I said “count me in!” Just give me enough notice to take the time off and we will be there. Perhaps it is aging or growing up, or just cheesy feelings, but I increasingly value time with loved ones because it is so precious and fleeting.

We made the drive to upstate New York and all gathered at my aunt’s house on a hot July 4th to swap stories and eat together. Some of us were healthy, some of us not as much. But we all sat at the tables for a few hours to talk about our current lives, memories, and just enjoy each other’s company. I loved listening and watching—seeing siblings remember together and in the distance the children of my cousins playing in the yard.

Somehow our stories all fit together with connecting relationships and moments. We’re not together all the time due to where we live, jobs, abilities, responsibilities, and more. But we are linked and influenced by our time together and connections through blood and experiences.

While I look forward to visits with my family and friends, reunions with extended family are extra special because of their rarity and the effort of aligning so many schedules to convene in one place. I can’t express how happy I was to see everyone and have a nice visit for catching up.

Email and Facebook are great ways to keep in touch between reunions and visits, but it is definitely not the same. We get a glimpse of how people are doing, but not a complete picture. And when health challenges arise, these methods of contact fall by the wayside through lack of time. Sometimes the good, old-fashioned reunion is just what we need to reconnect.

Gathering with physically distant family members is a strong reminder of how time passes quickly and how precious it is. I really do try to spend time with the important people in my life—investing my time well with the people that I care for most. Time is the rarest commodity—we cannot create or buy more.

So this reinforces in me—how do I want to spend my time and who do I want to spend it with? How do I live these priorities every day? Additionally, how do I consistently make room for new and wonderful people in my life? It is a balancing act, but one that is fun to practice once I understood my priorities, how I want to invest myself, and who I do this with.

For me, family and friends are a high priority. But I also enjoy some groups and meeting new people through them. It’s all about investing time where it feels good to give, that although I may be giving I am receiving so much from the experience as well.

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