Keeping Family Connected

Elizabeth is a retired NICU and hospice nurse, mother of 3, grandmother of 6. She and her husband live at 8000 feet in the Colorado mountains in a home they built themselves.Mary is a retired French teacher, massage therapist, touch for healing practitioner, and now a Parelli horse trainer. She has 2 children and 2 grandchildren, and she and her husband split their time between two Texas ranches—his for hunting, hers for horses.Susan is an artist, an amazing server, and a great comforter and encourager. Her 2 girls have given her 2 grandchildren. She and her husband work at Scarborough Faires throughout north Texas and hope to retire soon to Canyon Lake.I say my job is to travel the world and love and encourage our staff. I write and speak and give lots of attention to my 3 children and 4 grandchildren. My husband and I don’t see retirement in our future.Four very different girls, raised in a good Texas family. We were given many advantages, but we saw a lot of pain and conflict in our extended family and determined as young adults that we would not allow that to happen to us. While our parents were alive, we—and our husbands and children—were often together though spread far apart. But as our parents and children got older, maintaining those connections became more difficult.When our mother died two years ago, we peacefully settled all her estate and things. We were determined that nothing would cause conflict between us . Then we realized that, without our mother providing the glue to bring us together, we would probably go our separate ways—different lives, diverse interests, distant places.So we decided we would get together every other year—just the four of us—to reconnect, enjoy each other, have fun. Our first gathering was at Mary’s ranch—it included horses, target practice, good food, games and great conversation.We are now wrapping up a week together in the Colorado mountains—including horses, beautiful scenery, wildflowers, shopping, good food, games (Scrabble is my favorite) and more conversation.It takes time and effort to make it happen. But maintaining intentional family connectedness is worth it—for us and for the model for our children and grandchildren, a model of the value of family.