In ten days, I will be heading to Bethany
Beach, DE with my boys for a family
vacation. We will be in the house pictured to the right, with several of my siblings and their kids. The rest of the sibs and my mom will be in a house next door (total for both houses, over the course of the week: 28 people). The vacations would never happen for the boys & me without the generosity of my mom.
The planning - the email exchanges with my sisters, about rooming preferences and schedules and the lists -is almost as much fun as the actual trip for me! So far, the room assignments are pretty well ironed out. There is a schedule for kitchen clean up duty, separate from the cooking schedule which allows for a couple free nights to eat out. We've decided that my 11-year old niece will be the best suited at overseeing the clean up; she was amazing on the last group vac!
This morning I had an email reply from Pam, my older niece. We will be collaborating on a dinner, along with her boyfriend who makes the amazing Italian tomato sauce. The rest of the menu and shopping needs to finalized, but it is looking like a great meal.
Now that we're getting closer to the actual date, it is getting exciting! One brother and his wife will come down from Michigan, and their son from NYC. The rest of us are fairly local, the farthest being in Maryland. Sure, it is a lot of people to have all together for a whole week, but we do pretty well with respecting each other's privacy and things. The spread of ages make it fun: there is approximately a 15 year difference between my oldest brother and my one younger brother, between the younger brother and the oldest niece, and between the oldest and youngest of the nieces & nephews. There's a whole range of interests, careers and life experiences and friendships that broach those differences.
There'll be great dinners together, impromptu music played after dinner, sun and the ocean and walks with the kids to the ice cream shop. I can pretty much count on NOT going to the ER this time, which is an improvement over previous years (I'm crossing my fingers that no injuries or serious illnesses make a liar out of me). AND no ten-hour drive like when we went to the Outer Banks. Sure, there will be some irritations, but nothing that can't be managed. In a crowd this big it is easy to move in and out of smaller circles, and maintain an equilibrium.