We had a great Family Reunion from June 20-23, 2019 in Hurricane, Utah at the Coral Springs Resorts. It was so much fun to plan and prepare for these dates with the Reunion Squad including Hailey, Madyson, Samantha, Sarah, Cynthia, Grandma and myself. They turned to the planning into as much fun as the actual reunion....I was rarely stressed. Their excitement was contagious.
We were excited that just Mom and Dad's children and grandchildren numbered over 70 attending. "All because two people fell in love!" Brandy and her family came from Florida, Gille and Hans came from Ohio, Jason picked up his girls and came from Arizona and South Dakota. Ray and Lyn rounded out their family with Chanz and Mittie even though Chaiz and Shea couldn't make it. The Bill Bliss family came from Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Washington. Of course we missed Nathan and Angela who are in Spain, EJ and Sarah in Jerusalem. Brock Bliss's came from southern California all in attendance except Harrison and his kids from Hawaii. VeeAnn and her crew came from So Colorado as did Susan and Bill. We were sorry Florida was too far for Kenneth, Beth and the boys. David, Maureen and Logan were traveling for work on the East Coast so they couldn't make it. Becky, Cami and Katie came from Northern California, Joey and Laura from Southern California....they are expecting a new little one! Our family was well represented with the exception of our Jimmy who was in Corpus Christie, Texas working for FEMA. Quite a great group.
I will add pictures at the end of this blog, but wanted to share my thoughts on the last day of the reunion. I woke up at about 5:00 and couldn't stop feeling grateful for my wonderful family. It's great to talk about families being forever, but it is another thing to see a Forever Family working it out. Putting the family as a whole on the pedestal God meant it to be on. We're not perfect, but we do work at being a family. My thoughts:
June 23, 2019
I woke up this morning reflecting on what it means to be Bliss, what it means to be family, More personally what does it mean to be Bliss Family.
I've actually asked others what Bliss means to them. Some of the replies are Happiness, Serenity, Calm Assurance, Peace, Ignorance is ______, For sure it's a calm knowing.
Family is ....EVERYTHING! It's community, safety, security, non judgement, safe space, love. What does the word family mean to you?
So we are part of the Bliss Family. Personally, I can't start explaining without getting to my parents love for each other, I am reminded of my Dad's plaque that said "The greatest gift a Father can give his children is to love their mother." On their headstone marking Dad's grave we adjusted the saying to read "The greatest gift parents can give their children is to love each other." There love was always apparent and never questioned.
Part of their love was teaching us values. The values of hard work, that laziness was not an option, patriotism, kindness, honoring our elders, ettiquette, to serve, put others first, forgive, have harmony in the home, honesty....what values did you learn?
Another part of the Bliss Family as is true with all families was a little bit of trauma, drama, and pain. Our parents had to learn how to balance the pain of losing a child with gaining faith about a greater plan that will allow them to see their little boy and their daughter again. In our family we all learned to lose Karen, Dad, Karen Louise, Samuel too soon. We also know the peace that they are happy, still watching over us. We still remember Dad's humor, his hands, his honor.
Our lives as adults have blessed us with those same principles of love, of teaching our children our values, of drama, trauma, and pain. I have watched other families break apart and cast family aside, but we know and understand those qualities of family that we need. None of us is an island. even if we are strong we need family.
Through additional experiences and pains of illness and death, we rally, we are made stronger, we learn to resurrect ourselves and our lives into a more resilient iron man quality. We've had to forget the trauma and drama of family members choices, we have experienced the power of forgiveness, redemption, grace and harmony. We have recognized the power of family.
So here we are at this reunion....we see the power of love, values, trauma, drama, and pain. I saw the love in the children. Second cousins Lenora and Mikayla's immediate connections which are a little harder as we get older. I saw so many hugs, lip kisses, sweet tender messages to one another, sharing words of love and humor with our matriarch, Queen Vee.
Values were apparent as well as we each donated energy to this event. I'm especially grateful to the "reunion squad" as we called ourselves. You can't imagine the hours spent in advance of this event. I especially note that Mady and Hailey gave up whole Saturday's to plan, shop, create with such joy. Samantha was right their with us, Sarah made signs and lent her creative flair. Cynthia, who along with Hailey and Mady organized the purchase of the t-shirts. Mom/Grandma/GrandmaGrandma enjoyed the ongoing comraderie and giving to her Bliss Family gathering. She didn't know if she would make it, but we all knew she would. I saw Joey and Laura pitching in to pull tables and chairs together, Brock and Bill take on the Talent Show. Wow! What talent we all saw displayed. Wasn't that a cute dance Katie and Cami helped the little ones learn? I'm sure Grandpa is smiling in heaven. Susan's beautiful quilt bring her talent directly back to family. Lynette, Ray, Brandy and Anthony donating prizes to be drawn. All of your terrific talents on the food and your beautiful doors.
Yes, it is apparent that we have learned and passed on values taught by our parents. Yes, we still have trauma, drama, and pain. We brought some of that to the reunion with us as well. It didn't keep us away from this family gathering. That's FAMILY! Overcoming the the trauma, drama, and pain, to honor the importance of that word FAMILY. Other families could crumble, but not the Bliss Family. We put those unresolved issues into our back pockets and joined together in love and fellowship--showing that the bonds of the Bliss Family can chink, they can contort, but they cannot break.
Even within the reunion itself we have seen frustration, crossed purposes, words said--but still we survive.
So my dear wonderful Bliss Family, I bow to you, honor you, embrace you, LOVE you. We are Bliss, we are family, We are Bliss Family!