Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Weekend in SLC

This weekend we traveled to Salt Lake for Easter Weekend. This is not a normal thing for us, we are usually home on Easter. But this year we were also attending my Grandma Peters' Memorial Service that was on Friday afternoon. Although she passed away several months ago, we waited to have her memorial until now so that her children could all be there. My mom is the oldest kid in her family and has 4 younger brothers. I have not seen at least one of them since my childhood. One I saw in High School. One I saw a few years ago at my Mom's house. And while we did see my Uncle Wes at Brad's wedding in Vegas, none of my kids were old enough to remember. So for all intents and purposes, this was their first time meeting my Mom's brothers.

SIDENOTE: We got to SL really late Thursday night and stayed with the Hannays.  I think I was the only one that woke up early on Friday morning, because I had a fun appointment. Kim planned for all of us out-of-town girls to go to a spa party that morning. We got pedicures and facials. Kim, Lauren, Nicole, Laurene, Elise, and I all got a little pampering to start off our day. I liked spending time with them and I am glad Kim planned the activity for us.  Kim kindly sent me the most hideous picture ever of said spa day.  It is actually a horrible picture of HER.  Don't let the fact that it looks like me fool you.  Moving on-back to the memorial and the important stuff.

Grandma in her younger years

Grandma's memorial was Friday afternoon at the little clubhouse that goes with my parent's condo. Although my Mom has 4 brothers, all of them combined have not reproduced the way she has. ;) In fact, she had as many children as all of her brothers combined. There were only 2 of my cousins that attended. There are only 4 other cousins that didn't attend. Add to that the next generation, and we were REALLY overwhelming in numbers. One of my cousins brought her new baby, and apparently the other cousins not in attendance have had a few kids too. Then of course there is my Mom with her 22 grandkids...most of whom attended (we missed the Martin kids, as Nicole flew into town solo). I really enjoyed seeing all of my siblings in attendance supporting my Mom.

Jan&Wes, Connie&Alan, Eva&George, Orrin, Leon

Memorial Services are always a time to reflect, and this one was no exception. Several of my Grandma's children took the opportunity to talk about their lives with her and I found it interesting how seemingly small llfe choices can really create varied paths. What was especially striking to me though, was the fact that we were all closely related family, but we were all strangers. It's kind of weird introducing yourself to people you are supposed to be close with. I know that we aren't close. And I know that after today, we won't be any different. I wondered if I should try to forge a bond with them--ask them questions to see what we had in common--but I went the 'pleasantly polite though somewhat quiet' route. I had all of my kids come over and say hello to my uncles, but didn't really go through their names with them.

SIDENOTE: For some reason I am so loving that all of this happened on April 6th.  It's a super cool day in Mormondom.

After the Memorial, we all hopped in our cars and headed to the Salt Lake Cemetery to see her headstone and dedicate her grave. The SL Cemetery was establishedin 1848, the year after the Saints made it to the valley. It has all kinds of well known Mormons buried in it (SEE MAP HERE) and I was excited to see it.
My mom brought flowers for Grandma
My dad dedicates the grave
The weather cooperated with us and the sun parted for a few minutes while my dad dedicate her grave. She was actually buried on top of her parents graves. I guess you can do that if you are cremated. In fact, we did the same thing with my Grandpa-her husband- as he was cremated, then buried with his parents up in Preston, Idaho many years ago.

I looked out the window
SIDENOTE: While we didn't have time to look for gravestones of past Prophets of the church, we noticed that just a few plots over from my Grandma was the headstone of the person that wrote "Popcorn Popping." All of the grandkids were pretty impressed as they all know the song from Primary.

We all piled back into our cars and headed back down to the clubhouse where Kim and Steve catered a phenomenal meal for ALL of us (and we were a crowd!) Kim always goes above and beyond to make it really special. There were cute centerpieces with pictures from my Grandma's younger years, the food was amazing, the flowers were beautiful, and we all relaxed and had a chance to visit. As I watched my Mom and her brothers reconnecting, I was glad to see my own children chatting it up with their cousins. Some live far away and I am really glad we have annual reunions to try to keep those relationships. It also make me grateful for my own siblings. I think all of them are really amazing people and I am glad it hasn't been 20 years since we have shared a meal. Miles make it hard to be close, but I appreciate all of them for always making an effort.

Kim and Lauren

It made me reflect of life and relationships in general. You can't just expect to have a relationship without any effort. And that applies to friends and even family. All throughout your life you are planting seed either for good or ill with those around you. Those seeds always grow. You can't plant bad seeds and expect to have a good relationship. And I guess you can't neglect a seed altogether and expect it to bear fruit or flowers. Everyone knows that some relationships are better from a distance and it always takes two parties for a relationship to be a success. It makes me wonder if my parents (neither are close with their siblings) had bad things happen, or if lifestyle and distance just created a gap that was just too far to bridge.

Going forward, I know that someday my own kids will have to make the effort to stay close to me and their siblings. I know that their interactions today help to shape those tomorrows. It's definitely food for thought.

Easter weekend continued on and we stayed with the Hannays. The cousins went to the Rec Center to swim and play basketball together. Our family made a frantic shopping outing to try to get ties and shirts in preparation for church. After looking for 'matching' outfits, Gabe had the radical plan to have us all in a different color. I liked it. So did the kids. Different ties for everyone! The madness!

Sunday morning was pretty lazy and we didn't do our traditional Easter egg hunt, but instead spend the morning in dying and decorating of said eggs.  Our hunt would be the dark...with flashlights! This is a new Hannay tradidtion we were glad to wait until dark to try it.

The traditional Easter shot before church
Of course we attended church and I was really glad when all of the kids attended classes without complaining. Jebb was a little hesitant, but went to class when I pretended I thought that was exactly what he would do! ;) Their church was late, so we were all ready to eat more of Kim's yummy food once we got home. Once again it was a delightful meal shared with delightful people. I believe it is a really bonding thing to prepare and share meals together.

SIDENOTE: Steve, sorry I bought bacon for you to cook!! Next time let me do it in the microwave! ;)

After dinner, we took some time to have a spiritual Easter lesson. Years ago my mom made Kim a dozen plastic eggs, each with a small slip of paper explaining a symbol of Easter. The kids took turns opening and reading. It was great. Then, night finally fell. Kim and Steve hid all of the eggs in the backyard. They hid not only plastic eggs filled with candy and money, but also 'confetti' eggs (yes, they are real egg shells filled with confetti). For each confetti egg you found, you could smash it on someone else and make them forfeit a plastic, candy filled egg to you. The kids had a fantastic time! Egg smashing was a highlight, and so were the eggs with money in them!

Going out to hunt eggs!
Overall it was a really wonderful weekend with lots of times to reflect and consider what is important.  It seems like I have really felt lately that life is too short to spend your days with people that are mean or trying to tear others down.  I am grateful that we have people in our family that we can count on and that we know have our backs.  Strong relationships are hard won, meaning that they take some work and effort.  I hope we can continue to choose positive things in our lives so that when we come to the end of it, our families can be not just relatives, but friends.