I decided to treat the boys (Mario and Milo) and myself to a new experience – golfing for the first time. It turned out to be both relaxing and quite a lengthy outing. The highlight of the day was undoubtedly watching the boys take the wheel of the golf cart, steering it with enthusiasm as if they were characters in a video game. Their excitement and joy added an extra layer of fun to our adventure.
To our surprise, we had the golf course entirely to ourselves, which allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in the tranquility of the surroundings. However, the weather was quite intense, with temperatures soaring up to 95 degrees. Despite the heat, we made the most of the day, enjoying the game, each other's company, and the beautiful surroundings of the golf course.
It was a memorable experience for all of us, and I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend quality time with my boys. Trying something new together and witnessing their enthusiasm made the day truly special and left us with lasting memories to cherish.
Without fail, each year, our family eagerly gathers at our cabin to celebrate Pioneer Day. As the older sibling's wife, I have been organizing the event, and our cabin, with its ample space, becomes the perfect venue to comfortably accommodate all 23 family members.
Preparing for the reunion, we encountered some challenges with contractors. However, the silver lining emerged when we crossed paths with an exceptional group of individuals who stepped in to help us with various tasks. Their assistance proved invaluable as they skillfully insulated the cabins, applied fresh coats of paint, and even added a new bunkhouse to our property. To ensure everyone's comfort during the reunion, we invested in new beds, ensuring that all our beloved relatives would have a cozy place to rest.
While the cabin is still a work in progress, we are thrilled with the progress we've made thus far. The improvements and expansions we've undertaken reflect our commitment to creating a welcoming and enjoyable space for the whole family. Undoubtedly, the cabin will continue to evolve and grow over the years, becoming an enduring symbol of togetherness and cherished memories for generations to come.
One of the delightful surprises during the gathering was the introduction of outdoor movie nights. To make this experience truly enjoyable for everyone, I hired someone to prepare the area next to the glamping site by spreading sand and leveling the ground. Once we returned, we set up the turf, creating a fantastic spot for us to hang out, engage in physical activities, and, most importantly, enjoy movie nights under the stars. It added a new dimension of fun and relaxation to our family reunion.
We took full advantage of our side by side to take the whole family on thrilling rides up the mountain. We also embarked on a memorable hike to the Zoramite pond, where we had a refreshing swim, surrounded by nature's beauty. The family devotional led by Celestine brought moments of reflection and unity. One aspect that caught my attention during the gathering was the way some of my other in-laws addressed Jared's parents as "mom/mama hobbs" and "dad/papa hobbs." I found this to be somewhat odd, because I call my in-laws by their first name. However, it was intriguing to observe the different dynamics within our family and how each member expressed their love and respect for one another in their unique way.
I had fun preparing all the goodie bags for my sisters in laws with beauty products, journals, and one of my favorite short read books. I also went a little overboard getting presents daily for all my 13 nieces and nephews.
Overall, the family reunion was filled with delightful surprises, adventures, and heartwarming moments. It highlighted the beautiful diversity within our extended family. These shared experiences will undoubtedly remain treasured memories for years to come.
I also made t-shirts with the cabin's logo for everyone!
During our stay with Jared's family, it was heartwarming to see everyone pitching in to contribute positively to the experience. Jared's dad took the initiative to clear branches from the creek, and his sisters followed suit by tidying up the property. Their efforts were genuinely kind and made a noticeable difference.
Jared's mom, with her boundless energy and love, watched over her numerous little grandchildren, and it was a delight to witness the bond forming between Chloe and her dog cousins, Poppy and Buddy. Though Chloe is a tiny dog, she exhibited her bossy side with the other dogs, just like me. By the end of the visit, she had seamlessly integrated into the pack, forging connections with her newfound companions.
I couldn't help but admire the engaging conversations between Jared's brother and Mario. It's heartening to see Sam, an accomplished ophthalmologist who has just graduated after an impressive 14-year medical school journey, being such a positive mentor for Mario.
Overall, the visit was filled with meaningful moments of togetherness, productivity, and growth.
During our time with Jared's family, it seemed like an unfortunate stomach bug had taken hold, resulting in various gastrointestinal issues. We encountered a lot of throw up, poop, colds, fever, pink eye, and sore throats. Thankfully, despite the health challenges, we managed to navigate through the gathering with minimal physical harm. Oddly enough, the broken hot tub, which might have seemed like a disappointment initially, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Perhaps it prevented further health concerns or accidents, given the condition we were all in during the reunion.
In times like these, I couldn't help but feel grateful for the convenience of having a washer and dryer on-site. Dealing with so many illnesses and accidents would have been even more challenging without the means to quickly clean and sanitize our belongings. Overall, while the family gathering may have been overshadowed by health issues, I'm thankful for the small blessings that helped us get through the situation with as much ease as possible.
One of the highlights of the Derby event for me is undoubtedly the trip to the concession stands. It's a delightful experience that I always look forward to. I gave Milo some money and he surprised us all by choosing to buy blue cotton candy for everyone! Milo's thoughtfulness and inclusivity shine through in everything he does. He truly is a thoughtful and caring child, always considering the happiness of others.
Milo and Hudson stumbled upon some scones in the shape of a foot – a quirky and fun find. Without hesitation, they decided to share their newfound discovery with everyone around them. It's heartwarming to see such acts of generosity and camaraderie among kids. Milo's kind-heartedness and willingness to share made the day even more enjoyable for everyone present. Watching Milo's thoughtful gestures and how he effortlessly brings people together fills my heart with joy. It's these small but meaningful moments that make the Derby experience so much more than just a simple event. Milo's genuine kindness and inclusivity remind us all of the beauty of simple acts of kindness and how they can brighten the day for everyone involved.
A family reunion, with its unique blend of personalities, wouldn't be complete without some drama. Over the years, gatherings with Jared's family have often involved minor conflicts, which I typically brushed off, as they didn't directly affect my children or me. However, this time, the situation was different. In every family, there always seems to be a "cousin Eddy" – someone we've learned to nod and smile at, choosing not to take their antics too seriously.
Last year, there was a distressing incident when Cousin Eddy lost his temper with his wife, causing concern that things might escalate to physical violence. Moved by my past experiences with domestic abuse in my parent's family, I approached Cousin Eddy's wife to express my support and let her know she deserved better. Regrettably, this intervention led to a strain in our relationship.
Growing up, I witnessed my parents' dysfunctional dynamic, where my mother was mistreated and, in turn, would direct her frustration towards us. Our family's situation left us feeling ostracized in the community, as others failed to comprehend the underlying issues. Interestingly, I observe a similar pattern within Cousin Eddy's family.
During the family reunion, I address the issue of the negative review that Cousin Eddy had left for our cabin. To my surprise and dismay, he callously confessed to Jared that he had no intention of removing it or he will donit when "we get our first customer." His second justification was that his wife goaded him into keeping the review as a means to purposely annoy me.
These revelations deeply hurt me on several levels. Firstly, it showed a lack of empathy and understanding for my struggles with OCD. People with OCD often experience intrusive thoughts and may become fixated on certain details or issues. Knowing this, it was extremely unkind and thoughtless for Cousin Eddy and his wife to exploit my vulnerability in this way. It felt like they were intentionally poking at a sensitive spot, disregarding the emotional impact it could have on me.
Secondly, it indicated a significant lack of respect for my house, feelings and boundaries. Despite my polite requests to remove the review, Cousin Eddy chose to prioritize his wife's desire to provoke me over maintaining a harmonious family dynamic. This not only demonstrated his indifference to my well-being but also reflected a lack of consideration for how his actions could affect the overall atmosphere during the reunion.
Unfortunately, additional tensions arose when Cousin Eddy's wife vented her frustrations about the family asking about cousins eddies job situation, directing her anger towards all of us. While I chose not to engage, it became evident that the atmosphere was strained. I wanted them to leave my house at this moment. I got up, didn't say anything and I left to my room to cool off.
During the next lunch, I was deeply disturbed when Cousin Eddy proudly shared his association with a racist individual who held prejudiced views against Hispanics and Blacks. As the only person of color in the family, this was highly offensive and disheartening. I conveyed my belief that the company we keep reflects on us, but Cousin Eddy seemed indifferent.
Fed up with Cousin Eddy's disrespectful behavior and lack of consideration for my feelings, I felt it was time to take a stand. It became clear that our values and principles didn't align, and I wanted to protect the well-being of my family. I firmly decided to maintain boundaries and distance myself, along with my children, from Cousin Eddy and his family.
In my life, I've come to understand that people treat us based on the standards we set for ourselves. Dysfunctional dynamics and abuse should not be tolerated in the name of keeping a family together. As an in-law in Jared's family, I value respect, kindness, and personal autonomy. Jared's parents and siblings are use to accept cousin's eddies behavior, instead of holding him accountable.I respected their odd family dinamics as long as it didn't affect me. I sincerely wish Cousin Eddy and his family all the best in their own journey. However, they won't be welcome in our immediate circle going forward. Let us all stay healthy and focused on fostering positive connections with those who share our values.