Friday, February 09, 2024

Remembering Josiah on His Birthday

You may have noted we are a largish size family. If we were to gather for each and every birthday, anniversary, and accomplishment we would meet often.  While this would be fine with Michael and I - it WOULD fill up most free time and not allow each individual family group to create their own traditions, visit other people, or go on adventures of their choice. In other words, we'd be having potlucks and cake every spare moment. There are 32 of us - guess it's not sooo bad. ANYWAY, we have moved to monthly gatherings on the 3rd Saturday so everyone can plan ahead....and it works for us. 

This February was different. We had lots of birthday and anniversaries and a birth...but we also had Josiah's first birthday away from us. We debated what to do.  We were hoping Carrie and girls could join the family gathering on the 17th...but two days after Josi's arrival they wouldn't be doing anything extra. Michael and I eventually decided for US - we simply couldn't let the day go without marking it. 

We let family know we would be having a dinner at our home on Feb 9th, Josiah's birthday. They were welcome to join us. We planned to have Josiah's favorite meal and dessert. We told them we would leave time to share memories and thoughts with each other. If they felt it was too much and they didn't want to join us, they had the freedom not to come. Some wanted to be with the family but weren't ready for the stories and sharing. Others wanted to be at all but not share. Whatever.  Our goal was not to pressure anyone...but for US we simply couldn't let the day pass without marking it in some way.  Several mentioned they were glad we were doing something as it felt wrong to simply ignore his birthday to them as well.  

OF COURSE the roof calved big time the night and morning of the dinner. Michael got up "early" and began the job of clearing the entryway and driveway. 

THIS has happened often this winter - our entry 

CoRielle are so good to us.  They arrived a couple of hours early and the boys and Cory helped Michael clear the snow. How much snow DID we have...well this is the 2nd story window...and the boys are right outside of it. Unless they've learned how to levitate that's a whole lot of snow!!!!

Can we come in from the out yet? 

Cory & Charles

Benny declares there's too much snow

Danny is on it


JaRissa and Noah showed up next. Jared was happy to jump into the snow fray. Note the snow blowing over on Michael. LOL 
Jared mans the snow blower

Meanwhile we stayed inside, visited, set the table, worked on lunch and watched the snow warriors.  I started the Chicken Divan. We hadn't made it since October. It was Josiah's favorite - it seems to be a favorite for many of us. Stacia took over making it and agreed it was emotionally hard. 

Arielle - about 35 weeks 


Bachan & Noah doing laps

With the snow cleared everyone moved inside. We were all happy to help Jared put bands on the door hangars he and Jamin were going to put out in district neighborhoods. I've not blogged about that yet, have I? Jared is running for State Senate. 

Krista was in Guam, Alex and Carrie and Liv didn't make it. Other than that...we GATHERED. LOL 

Annie assists GG with his puzzle

Larissa, Noah and Jojo

Nolan, Jojo, Jamin & Trudy

Cousin Chase - with Bop It...any game is chase

Jamin & Trudy


The table isn't big enough for all of us...the 3 tables...we are resigned to doing some standing around when we're all together. LOL 

OH! This was Jenni's introduction to Family Gatherings
Well - with the bigger group

We enjoyed dinner.  Izaak and Cory took the kids down to the family room when we began to share around the family table. I've debated what to share and what to protect. In the end these are not all my stories to tell. I have journaled memories and emotions and much of this day will stay safe in my journal. We shared childhood stories, parenting thoughts, younger sibs shared how much Josiah's affirmation meant in their lives... We laughed and we cried. We honored who Josiah was among us, and we honored our grief. It was sweet to slow down, stop, remember and reflect. I come away from these times encouraged to continue the fight to love God wholeheartedly, to love others love courageously. As parents it is important to us people REMEMBER Josiah. 

As I reflect on the day I wonder if "communion" didn't have some of this element for the disciples. Yes, I know, "It's a sacrament." But as we sat and remembered and felt the presence of both joy and grief...I can't help but think they, like us, were driven to gather and remember and mark a life no longer with them. They were sure to have felt all the emotions as well - because after all Biblical characters ARE human. Like we remember Josiah, I'm sure they remembered Jesus 100's of times a day...and yet there is something good, right and comforting in gathering to remember corporately, in community.  I'm quite sure "communion" wasn't simply a sacrament observed but had the very human dimension of relationship missed.  

I have no idea what we will do in future years...but this was good.