Monday, April 01, 2013

Holidays ... family and laughter

The most sacred holiday of the year for Christians, Easter is a time when families gather not only to commemorate the resurrection of Christ but also to spend time as a family, sitting together around the table to enjoy a meal as well as celebrate the day with Easter egg hunts and special treats.

At our house, there is also laughter.

As I took a break Sunday afternoon after Easter brunch at my sister's house where our family had gathered to spend the day together, I was struck by the amount of laughter coming from the dining room where the kids were clustered around the table playing board games. It is part of who we are. We enjoy being together, spending time working together whether it's in the kitchen as we cook and prepare meals, or playing games, watching movies, or just hanging out.  It made me think back over the years growing up in a large family with many aunts and uncles as well as a slew of cousins -- my mom was the youngest of ten children -- and laughter has been there all along.

What a great way to grow up. We didn't have much money and we didn't live in big houses, but we had the friendship and fun of family that gathered for every holiday. When I was a child, most Sunday afternoons were spent at my grandparents' home. Cousins dashed around the yard playing tag while grandparents watched from the porch, and aunts and uncles rocked and talked about jobs and gardens and life.

Easter during my youth was no different. After church, we all headed to our grandparents' house to enjoy a variety of dishes that everyone contributed for the potluck meal, and socialize. When it was time for the annual egg hunt, children were herded into the house and closely watched to be sure they didn't peek out the windows while parents hid dozens of marshmallow, cellophane-covered eggs throughout the large yard. When every egg had been tucked into a safe hiding place, the door was opened and a pack of squealing kids flew out into the yard to scoop up the multi-colored eggs, dashing from here to there as we searched behind bushes, trees, and spring flowers for the edible treats. What fun we had in those youthful, innocent days and, over it all, the peals of laughter could be heard, both from the children in the yard, and from the adults sitting and rocking on the porch.

All the money in the world cannot buy that kind of laughter....

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