Recipe Friday: Fambly

My dad likes to make up words. His pet word for our family is, “fambly.” We’ve all pretty much adopted it.

We had a family reunion last month. We do this every two years, for a full week, and we siblings take turns arranging the venue. We each pick a night to cook, so it’s only the one day that we need to be responsible for the meal.

My brother-in-law started this for us in 1997, and we’ve continued it. Nowadays, my generation is retired, or close-to retired. But our children are career-age and can’t always make it. My parents aren’t able to attend any more, but it pleases them to no end that we still hold it. This year’s reunion missed several of us, but those of us there really enjoyed each other.

God instituted family, and for good reason. We are to take family seriously, and work hard to make those bonds as close and good as we can. No, it’s not all in our hands to do so, but we are accountable to God, as far as it is possible, to live peaceably with all men (Romans 12.18).

Sometimes we can’t change our family dynamics. For instance, I get to have a sisters weekend every other year. We went to a nice restaurant for dinner one night, and got into conversation with the waitress. She couldn’t believe we wanted to spend time with our sisters. “If I did that with my sisters,” she said, “we’d end up killing each other.” But she thought it was so sweet that we liked spending time together.

I love my fambly. Fiercely. Each and every one. How did that happen? My parents worked at it. They taught us to work at it. We work at it. It’s worth it to work at it.

Family connections go both ways: up generations and down. If you are a parent, make specific plans to strengthen those family ties. Establish traditions (yes, they can be crazy; we have some crazy little traditions in our fambly). Keep important routines. Bake that cake or that favorite meal. Cherish your moments.

So, call your brother. Send a note to you mom. Text your sister. Send a heart emoticon to your son. Keep the connections going with love, as far as it is possible with you. God loves family. He blesses attempts to grow the bonds of love.

Norma

Norma

When did you know you were grown up?

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Norma took her time walking back home through the pasture after checking the cows.  She gauged the time by the sun: she’d be expected home to help with supper in another half hour.  She had found two of their cows ready to drop new calves by tomorrow.  She’d let Pa know where they were, so he could check on them later tonight.

She glanced up as she heard the buzz of a small plane.  There was Mr Griffin, blowing out the cobs and checking the area fields.  He dipped his wings and waved at Norma.  She waved back and sighed.  How she would love to be in that pilot seat right now!  Oh, to fly!

Norma tarried just a bit longer in the beautiful outdoors before she headed inside.  It was a cheerful, comfortable home, full of brothers and sisters playing or trying to go about their business.  “Wash up, Norma, and start the potatoes,” Ma called over her shoulder.  She was putting in the biscuits and rocking the baby at the same time.

Everyone gathered at the supper table – all ten children with Ma and Pa.  Norma was fourth in line, after her big brother and two elder sisters.  It was a noisy, jostling affair each day, with each one eager to share their experiences and ideas and questions.  Pa was the conductor, quietly but firmly heading off, or encouraging or reproving by a nod or a smile or a look.

Just before time to clear the dishes, Pa scraped his chair back a little and cleared his throat.  Everyone looked expectantly at him.

“Well, Ma,” he started.”  Looks like we’ll have a good amount of chickens coming up, for laying and eggs.”

Ma smiled and nodded.

“There’ll be a fair amount of work for the younger crowd tomorrow.  Robert brought the straw wagon around, so it’s lined up.  The little ones can help clear out the cow barn; then the chicken coop needs a good cleaning, and it’ll need fresh straw.  He looked at the younger faces.  “Make sure you’re looking for eggs before you start throwing straw around.”  They nodded.  Lucille and two of the younger boys shot an impish grin toward Norma.  These were usually Norma’s chores, tho’ they were supposed to be helping.  It wasn’t one of Norma’s favorite ways to spend time, but at least it was outdoor work.  She was glad of her older and younger sisters, plenty of ’em for helping Ma inside.

Pa and Ma exchanged twinkles in their eyes.

Pa continued.  “Now Robert, here, as the oldest, has been my right-hand man for a long time.  But, you know, he’s taken a job working out.  So,” he paused for dramatic effect.  “So tomorrow, I’ll need Norma to hop into the tractor and work in the field.”  He smiled at Norma.  “Think you can handle that?”

Norma beamed.  Could she ever!

That night, Norma carefully laid out her work clothes for the next day.  She sure didn’t want to be late!  She smirked just a little at the younger ones’ dismay over her new chores: this meant they’d have to take over the chicken house and barn mucking.  As she lay her head on the pillow, Norma mused, “I’m an adult now.  Really grown up.  I wonder what else being an adult will mean for me?”

Luv Dat Famlee

Family get-togethers,

reunions and such,

aunties and uncles

get back in touch

 

with all those we love,

and all those we don’t;

those whom we hug

and those whom we won’t.

 

It’s hard to choose,

when family gives you lip:

grit your teeth

or let ‘er rip.

 

They gabble together,

those elders lament,

of morals and politics;

Wonder where the grandkids went?

 

Food brings us back

and ties us together.

Ice cream and sparklers

strengthen the tethers.

 

Families are funny

the way they pan out,

a mish-mash of kin

we can’t do without.

 

Born into, or adopted,

or take in a stray.

We love ’em, we hate ’em,

can’t give ’em away.

 

When it comes to family,

one cannot choose.

When it comes to family,

one cannot refuse.

 

Pour out thy love,

measure by measure,

to those whom God gives you

in His good pleasure.