For several years we’ve taken Mom to visit her mom’s family at the annual Ponder Reunion near London, KY. All of us have grown to love these trips. It’s always fun for our family to be together for a couple of days – even if most of the time is spent riding in a van. There is always laughter, songs, and general silliness! On occasion there is a good dose of healthy conversation. We also LOVE getting to visit with family that we don’t see often. It’s so fun having a big extended family all around you – even if you’re not quite sure of everyone’s name – or who goes with whom.
Mom started out this trip knowing all of our names and who we were in relation to her. Those times are so sweet to have with her because you never know when they are going to slip away.
This year the park where we hold the reunion added a wonderful indoor facility. It was so nice not to have to deal with flying creatures while we talked and ate!
This building has beautiful light from the windows…and you know what that means to a photographer :)!
This year all of Mom’s brothers and sisters were able to be at the reunion except for one, Uncle Til was missing and was missed very much! Our prayers are with MacKenzie, his daughter, as she is working through some health issues.
Reunions are bitter-sweet, this year we shed tears with Uncle Jack as he shared with us the recent memories of Aunt Fern’s death. It was precious to watch Mom wipe the tears from his face. Her memory may be fading rapidly, but her loving, nurturing heart is ever-present.
As we were taking pictures outside, I had the funniest feeling of trying to reconcile where I fit into this generation of family! I’m the oldest grandchild. I remember when Becky and Debbie were born – I remember being able to play “mom” to them. My Aunts were wonderful to let me love on their babies, cook with me, and be a friend to me. I’ll NEVER forgive one of my uncles for setting me up on a “blind date” many years ago. So there is a bit of an age gap between some of my cousins and myself – BUT, I love getting to know my cousins as adults. To watch them as mothers and fathers with their children, to see the other grandchildren growing and becoming is a special privilege.
By the time we were getting ready to leave, Mom was tired, her ability to recall names was starting to slip. It had been a great trip, filled with many special memories, thankfully, we have a several captured in pictures to relive over and over again. We loaded the van and shared hug after hug after hug…and then a few more hugs! Saying goodbye is the hard part. Several hours later, we received a phone call from Aunt Phyllis wanting to know if we were making it home safe – always loving, always caring…family!
My prayer for my family, like Paul’s prayer from Philippians 1:27 is “Only let your way of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents.”
We loved our time with you! You are in our hearts and prayers!
Matthew, Sheila, Emily, Hannah, Grace, & Mariah