This tradition was started 14 years ago, when my son Matt and my niece, A, were babies. We have a unique family: my biological niece at four months of age, through the open adoption process, was placed with a wonderful, loving family who was able to care for and meet her needs in ways our own family was not. A's adoptive family asked my parents to continue to grandparent her, but also asked that they would include their older daughter, also an adoptee, as one of their grandchildren. My parents willingly complied. As it turns out, Matt and A were born nine days apart, and A's older adoptive sister is only four days older than my daughter, Missy. So several times a year, our extended families get together to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and what it means to be a family.
At our fall gathering, we celebrate the autumn birthdays, including my cousin's (when he can attend) and my sister's, both born in October. The November birthdays include Missy and A's sister. And since it's difficult to get everyone together at Thanksgiving, this Robbins Reunion has become our own Thanksgiving celebration. This year, I added a new tradition, one I was inspired by from a post at Dumb Little Man (hat tip to Denise at Family Matters), and something I wish I had started years ago: a thanksgiving journal. I purchased a nice snap-fastened, gilt-edged, lined journal and had everyone write a little something about what they were thankful for. Even my youngest nephew, age three, was encouraged to add his scribbles! The entries were heart-warming and humorous. In addition, I added information about where we held the reunion, who all attended, and some particular details about that evening that made it distinct from any others (hat tip to Becky of kinnexions, and her Phend-Fisher Family Reunion Ledger posts). I hope this journal will become a family treasure over time. In the photos below, you can see some of the family members writing their thoughts of gratitude in it.
SOURCE: Various family members at Robbins Family Reunion, Spokane, Washington. Photographed by Norman J. Midkiff and Miriam Robbins Midkiff, 4 November 2007.
While my parents were in town, they brought me a box of letters. From 1966 to 1978, my mother wrote to her parents in Grand Rapids, Michigan from various locations in Alaska where our family resided. My grandparents, as I've mentioned before, saved everything! These notes and messages are our family's history, and I've been enjoying reading a few every night before bed. I've been loaned these to scan and preserve, and perhaps, from time to time, I'll share some of them with my readers (after first receiving permission from my mother, of course). My posts on our "Alaska Adventures," as Mom has always called them, always generate the most viewers and comments on this blog!