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World peace and the family reunion

Mother Teresa said world peace comes from loving our families. Nowhere does that get tested more than the family reunion.
Tiffany Gee Lewis, Deseret News Modified: August 26, 2014 at 12:28 am •  Published: August 27, 2014
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It’s family reunion season, which means it’s time for my annual family reunion roundup. My relatives tease me about my post-reunion column. They learned, long ago, that no event is safe from my writer’s pen.

I just can’t help myself. Throw together several dozen relatives, and you’re going to have great fodder for a column or two.

I have to begin by mentioning my absolutely adorable niece Kenna. She is 9 years old and whip-smart. She even composes her own piano songs. Kenna reads my column every two weeks, and wants to know when I am finally going to write about her. So here it is. Hi, Kenna! I miss you already. Come visit us in Minnesota, OK?

Now, to the reunion. What do you get when you mix one house, 33 people, a lake, a river, a mountain of food and some fabulous Pacific Northwest scenery? A reunion for the record books, that’s what. Even when the host family is rushing their 3-year-old to the emergency room on the first morning with two snapped bones in his right arm.

Even when the host family plans meals of hot dogs, pancakes, pork sandwiches and croissants, only to find out that most of the adults have gone gluten-free. (Sorry!)

Even when the day at the beach gets rained out and turns into a day at the local community pool.

Despite the broken bones, bags of untouched hot dog buns and a drippy sky, the week turned out to be fabulous. There was almost no fighting among the 18 children in the house. Everyone pitched in to help with meals and activities. The toilets didn’t even clog.

I came away so motivated. My brother- and sister-in-laws are remarkable parents — patient with their children and so impressively organized (my two, ahem, weaknesses). For instance, one morning we were flipping pancakes in the kitchen (for the five people still eating gluten) when my nephew Spencer (brother to the fantastic Kenna — hi, Kenna!) walked into the kitchen.

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