Saturday, June 15, 2013

Surving the Family Vacation

Keith enjoying the joy of doing nothing.

It is a rare thing for a farmer to get off the farm for any real extended time period, especially a livestock farmer, especially, especially the dairy livestock farmer.

But due to the very hard work of a young man and his mother who did our chores, we made it happen.

Michigan. Cool, forest and lake filled Michigan. Canoes and kayaks, ponds and rivers, killer mosquitoes that were seen carrying around baby rabbits and of course...time with family.


What one word in the dictionary elicits more gut retching feelings of love, devotion, angst, disappointment, pride and passion than that one word?


The true test of a families worth and strength is in times of trouble such as serious and life threatening illness, death, marriage and the most frightening of all...the family vacation.

It is always perfect in the beginning. Shared meals, group events, friendly teasing, evenings of chatter and camaraderie. A time to catch up on each other's jobs, and lives. Time to laugh and relax and enjoy. But as can happen when a large group of people is together for more than 3 days (the old fish and family rule) things can go sour.

It is never planned or intended but it happens. Perhaps a verbal disagreement or a clash in behavior rights and wrongs. The group may divide and actions are misconstrued, feelings are hurt, wounds are inflicted and one might very well end that family time with the raging and over-whelming feeling of "Never Again"

But what a loss that would be.

Families are not meant to be carbon copies of each other. Conflict is unavoidable. But how a family handles this noise of togetherness, the times of discontent is its true measure. Few families bother to come together anymore at special times like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Birthdays, let alone the summer house tucked into the cool woods between babbling water sources.

It is too hard, they say, too much work.  Uncle Martin is such a bore. Aunt Agatha is so bossy. Cousin It is so hairy. Grandpa Festus is too lazy.

But the bottom line is effort. No family is without it's issues but real families are worth fighting for. We can take the low road and refuse to speak, share or gather together because of some perceived mis-deed or we can reach out to those we've hurt, apologize, ask and RECEIVE forgiveness and move on.

There is perhaps not a single home anywhere which does not display a easily purchased, often trite sign about the value of family but there are few who are willing to do the tremendous heart breaking work it takes to remain a solid, loving , despite all odds, willing to take on any invader, REAL family in these very self centered "I-Have-The-Right-Me-First" times we are submerged within.

Perhaps it is true in this world that there are few things worth fighting for. I myself believe Family is one of them.

Photo: My family.  I love them so.
Back row from left, Brother -in-law Dave, BIL John, nephew Nick, nephew Logan, Son Colton, son Jason,  The Midlife Farmwife aka Donna, Husband Keith, son Kyle, daughter-in-law Amanda, sister Mary, sister Teresa, niece Bridgette, nephew Connor, BIL Brandon, sister Peg, DIL Tab, daughter Raven, GK Nicole, GK Wesley, GK Allana


  1. Glad to hear you've gotten away from the farm for a few days. The last family reunion i attended was 1966, and nearly all of those who attended are dead now. It IS worth the effort.

  2. When you said 'family', I didn't imagine all that amount. 21 of you together; that's amazing. We shall have 7 with us next month; and I thought that was a lot!

  3. Congrats on being able to get away for a while!! Double congrats on surviving the ordeal.

    Good looking family.

  4. Sounds like your family and my family were in Michigan enjoying the fresh water lakes and family at exactly the same time. We were in Traverse City, where did you guys end up?