There are a few things I firmly believe in, and family is one of them. I'm sure you've guessed as much by the size of my own. I come by it honestly. My extended family is also quite large and we are a very close knit bunch.
Earlier this week, my mother's side of the family met for a couple days to celebrate my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary. This was strictly my grandparents, their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Fifty-one of us attended, but several others couldn't make it, and we all stayed in the same building!
Lesson 194: Family so big, you can rent a whole lodge and fill it = white trash
Not only is my family big, but they are all very talented. They excel in sports, theater, dance, and I swear half of them can just pick up an instrument and play it like they've been playing it for years, and while they're playing that instrument some of my other relatives will wander over and start singing in six piece harmony.
I'm not included in that pile of talent.
To remind me of my lack of talent, my family decided to treat Ma and Granddad to a talent show.
My sister and I chatted about it before we left.
"Haley and I are going to do a dance," Ronnie told me.
I sighed, "My only talent is giving birth. I doubt that would be appropriate."
Ronnie snorted, "Maybe you should do some stand-up."
"Meh." Childbirth sounded better.
After we got to the anniversary reunion, my Aunt Carol bustled around getting people to sign up for the talent show. Almost all my kids signed up. I was relieved.They could perform in my place. Even though it never manifested itself in me, I must carry the talent gene and passed it down, because my kids are talented. The older ones play instruments, Jude can tell hilarious jokes and stories, and Jovie is so dramatic 100% of the time that she could probably have a stage career now.
"What are my kids doing?" I asked Aunt Carol.
"Most of them are playing the piano."
"Huh? None of my kids know how to play the piano." So much for talent redemption!
"That's alright. If they want to play the piano to praise God, then you should let them." Aunt Carol smiled and walked away.
Uh, I thought this was a talent show for Ma and Granddad. Whatever.
The time finally came for the show. Ma and Granddad had a table set up where the two of them sat together to enjoy the talent they brought into the world.
First up, my cousin Lonnie's kids. These little ones wore cowboy hats and sang a beautiful song together. Even her one son, who is like four years old! How did she accomplish that?
After they finished, Aunt Carol got up and introduced my first performing child. "Next up, Jet, who will be performing some table slapping."
Yep. It was exactly what you are thinking. So glad we have spent so much money on guitar lessons these past few years.
Jagger followed with his "balancing act". That turned out to be Jagger smacking a ping-pong ball around the room while he chased it and screamed.
Rex was next. He played the piano. While he played (or pounded keys), Fox joined him and they made it a duet. A very loud duet. Yes, it was almost as good as Kieran's and Aunt Audra's duet of Heart and Soul that followed. OK, not even close!
Stone played, and looked like a crazy pianist, as he threw his head back and cackled through the whole thing.
My last child to perform was Jovie. She had been sitting by me during the show. When she was called, she turned to me and stated in usual Jovie fashion, "Mom, grab a tissue, because you're about to cry."
Oh, Jovie. She played a random tune and posed for photos while she did so. When she was done, she sat back down and whispered to me, "I did awesome. Did you cry?" If anyone is in need of self-esteem, let me know. Jovie has enough for about 67 other people. Just saying.
After my cousin Matt finished the show, I glanced over to see big, beautiful smiles on my grandparents' faces. They loved it. All of it.
That's when I realized the truth. Ma and Granddad didn't care what anyone performed. They were just pleased that they were loved enough to be honored with their descendants' time and effort. Combining that with what Aunt Carol said, made everything so clear. We can offer up anything to praise God. I may not be talented like the rest of my family, but I can still have something to offer.
I can offer up my time. I can clean my house with a happy spirit. I can serve my family with a glad heart. I can love, even when it's hard. I can do anything, and if I'm doing it to be pleasing to God, I will put a proud smile on his face, just like the smiles on Ma's and Granddad's faces.
I really wish I would have done something for the talent show. It was silly to have felt so inadequate, especially with my own family. They love me no matter what, just like I love them. Next time I'll be ready, and maybe I'll help my kids with their choices. Or, get them some piano lessons, for crying out loud! Of course, after the show, I did have a few family members come up and tell me how hilarious my children were. I guess I was responsible for some stand-up after all.
Happy Anniversary Ma and Granddad! We've all been so blessed to have you in our lives!