Dragonfly
I'm back home; the adrenaline rush of our yearly summer family reunion slowly leaking away to leave the inevitable exhaustion behind. I. Am. Tired. But happy!

Twice a year my Dad's side of the family (as many of us as possible, we're a BIG bunch - 36 currently) gets together - usually around the 4th of July and at Thanksgiving. These gatherings recharge my batteries enough to keep me from crawling into a hole and whimpering for the rest of the year. There is nothing like plugging into the power surge of loved ones.

When last I visited ye olde blog, I had my hands on either side of my head, ready to start snatching myself bald. So much to do, so little time to do it in.

In an effort to not wax too poetically (i.e. ramble on indefinitely), I’ll try to summarize:

Freshman Orientation… Surreal. I’m convinced someone stole years from me. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was skipping class to go hang out at the park and watch the cute guys play tag football? Really. I think it was yesterday.

Shaggy’s girlfriend… Sweet. Adorable. Easily embarrassed. I said, “Oh, so YOU’RE the one who calls at 1:00 a.m.” She turned a shade of pink I did not know existed. I assured her I was only joking – at least until school starts. I don’t know if I’m really ready for this whole Shaggy-with-a-girlfriend scenario. I’m faking it really well so far.

BabySis… In a fortuitous turn of events, her Friday morning plans fell through. I was able to convince her to drive out Thursday night on the idea that we’d go to WallyWorld and get the Doodlebug’s school clothes after midnight (thus getting a jump on tax-free weekend). That was the plan.

Me (calling her at 2:30am): Where ARE you?
BS (giggling): I’m almost there.
Me: Do you realize what time it is?
BS: Yeah. My friends got drunk and I had to pick them up from the bar and take them home. We had to stop by Jack in the Box first.
Me: Oh. Okay. That makes total sense. I’m waiting. You’re eating. With people who are schnockered.
BS (ignoring my sarcasm): You ready to leave when I get there?
Me: Hell No. I’m tired now.

She arrived at 3:00 a.m. We woke up at 6:30 a.m. and shopped until 3:00 p.m.

Wal-Mart. Abercrombie & Fitch. Pac-Sun. Hollister. Aeropostale. SALE! SALE! Barnes & Noble. (What? I needed books after wading through the cologne in those places.)

I learned that I’m a cool Mom with good taste in teen clothing. So says Shaggy. He is too sexy for his jeans. Seriously. Can’t look at him. It freaks me out. I’m in DEEP SHIT. (Thus confirming that I am, indeed, faking my okay-ness with 'Shaggy' and 'Girlfriend' being mentioned in the same sentence.)

Arrived back home. Unloaded too many packages. Hid mine from Mr. Clean. ($300 over budget. Oops!) By that time, I’d had two bottled coffees and a grande Mocha at Starbucks. Umm, No Food. I felt like I was on Day 2 of Detox.

A smart person would have sat down, rested a bit, and maybe eaten something. Me? I figured I’d use the Energizer-Bunny-on-crack momentum to get the baking underway. In other words, I was afraid I’d fall into a coma if I sat down for too long. And I couldn’t keep my feet still long enough to sit anyhow.

When we were done… half of my kitchen looked like a chemical experiment gone Very, Very wrong. The other half? A crime scene involving powdered sugar faeries that exploded. Possibly with the help of cherry bombs.

Cake. Batter. On. The. Ceiling. I have no clue how.

The Coconut Key Lime Cupcakes ROCKED!!! I preened and made little kissy faces at each one of them. All FIFTY. There were actually fifty-three but three went missing. I swear I didn’t eat them. All.

These were vanilla cupcakes made from scratch with coconut milk and sweetened coconut in the batter, filled with Key Lime pie, and then topped with a coconut milk/lime zest buttercream icing and toasted coconut on top. I know it sounds like a lot of coconut but it turned out to be very pleasantly coconutty without being overpowering. The key lime pie in the center exploded on the tongue - tangy, sweet, and creamy. They really were awesome.

Coconut. (just had to say it one more time)

BabySis left to go back home and pack. I collapsed on the couch and enjoyed one of the perks of Mommy-hood – directing everyone else to finish packing and cart all the crap out to the truck.

Mr. Clean arrived home with a new charm for my bracelet, a pretty little heart. He got a clean kitchen. Best. Anniversary. Present. Ever.

I was too tired for anniversary closet nookie before we left.

We made it to my family’s lake house just before 10 o’clock. And then proceeded to stay up until 3:00 a.m. catching up, laughing, and playing card games.

Here, I’m a little stuck with how to proceed. I find it almost impossible to describe my family and our get-togethers to other people. It’s like an inside joke. Or a brilliant secret. You have to be there to get it.

I am beyond blessed. A weekend with them is laughing until you can’t breathe and then laughing more when you realize you peed yourself a little the first time. And then more when everyone else laughs AT you for peeing yourself. And then MORE when THEY pee themselves a little.

My stomach muscles are sore today.

So. Try to imagine:

Twenty-two people aged 8 to 80-something.
And three dogs.
Three bedrooms.
ONE BATHROOM.
No arguments.
Three air mattresses.
Twenty-six pillows.
Four sleeping bags.
Five people snoring like a cacophony of chainsaws.
All five within one small great room.
Two boxes of earplugs.
All used.
Game playing until 3:00 a.m. BOTH NIGHTS.
Breakfast at 7:00 a.m.
BBQ!!
Cupcakes!!
And so much love, the house sighs with it.

Priceless.

I am happy to say we did not break the dining room table this year while playing Spoons. Three people did knock their chairs/stools over and then fall on their butts. One came away with minor injuries – although we tried to save her. That’s the risk when playing Spoons with fourteen people at one table. Competitive people. People who will get that last spoon. No. Matter. What.

I came home with minor muscle aches and pains. Not from playing Spoons. Rather, from fighting with a pool float in the lake. For forty-five minutes.

I have to digress to say… I normally can get on a pool float with no problems. I am not completely inept. Every time I bounced out of the water to get on the damn thing, my swim shorts slid down (they grew a size in the water!). So I’d struggle to lie across the float, while pulling the shorts as high as I could (so not to flash crack at my family). Then, I’d flip over on my back and wiggle them the rest of the way up. Then, when I tried to get all the way on… it scooted out from beneath me and I ended up with water in my nose. I tried straddling it but again, tried to pull my shorts up and ended up ass over teakettle, with water up my nose. I tried every way possible… and boy did my butt get a workout.

I never did manage to get on that slippery little bastard. Yes, I did try to pound the poor thing into submission. No, it did not work. Yes, everyone DID laugh at me. No, my uncle did NOT catch it on video. Yes, I did do the “Oh yeah! He missed it!” booty dance.

Seriously, folks… I got LUCKY. I would have been watching the slow-motion replay at every reunion for the Next. Three. Years. I’ll suffer enough just from having had witnesses.

How do you know your family is the shiznit? When you think nothing of getting your BabySis to color your hair while everyone is there – enduring an hour of teasing because you look like a walking head wound (it’s red) and then gaining the new nickname “White Trash” because you opted to cut a hole in a white trash bag rather than bother with a towel.

Other things I learned this year:

We all possess amazing abilities in making almost anything an allusion to sex.
In a hilariously raunchy way.
My Dad is the raunchiest of us all.
But not by much.
My inability to get on a pool float in a big body of water is a genetic trait, from dear old Dad.
My uncle caught him fighting with a float on video.

It was hilarious.
The quickest way for someone new to the family to break the ice – fart while we’re all squashed together for the family photo.
Loudly.
So the picture comes out with us all laughing our butts off.
Not one of us is capable of standing still for more than 30 seconds.
Not one of us is capable of speaking below 100 decibels.
My grandfather will always attempt to make the TV louder than we are.
It will never work.
Our laughter alone would drown out a jet engine.
We manage to get completely schnockered off laughter only.
The quickest way to see if your boyfriend/girlfriend is a keeper? Bring them to reunion. They’ll either fit right in or run screaming. Or fart during the family photo. (Forevermore being declared ‘one of us’)

I love my family. I miss them already. And I cannot wait until Thanksgiving!

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2 Responses
  1. Deb R Says:

    1. Your family sounds SO fun!!

    2. I thought to myself when I met you and your hub and kids that you should be issuing warning letters to the parents of adolescent girls in your area because Shaggy has charm to spare. ;-)

    3. I want the cupcake recipe! Will you share it, pleeeeease??


  2. dragonfly Says:

    1. They really are. I claim enormous bragging rights over all of them. We're all really into each others' lives and it creates the sweetest hammock to lie back in.

    2. *grin* Yeah. And to think he was complaining just last year about how he'd never have a girlfriend. Oh boy am I in for it. And I have no clue - not having had any real brothers.

    3. Absolutely! I'll email it to you!