Family picnics seem to be becoming sort of a family tradition with me and my children and grandchildren. We got together for picnics a couple of times last year, and again this summer. I truly hope that this tradition continues. These times are fun and relaxing, away from the daily grind of our everyday lives. I'm thinking that they are probably more relaxing for me than for those with small children to chase and keep track of, but everyone seemed to enjoy the time spent as a family.
We met last Saturday at a park that has picnic tables and a swimming beach. The picnic area was shaded by large oak trees, and we sat in the shade and visited.
Jacob had a hard time negotiating all of the acorns on the ground.
The kids swam and played in the sand, making sand castles that Jacob destroyed as only Jacob can. I believe I saw him belly-flop onto one of them. Jeri told me that when she and her kids were at this same park earlier this summer, the water out by the swimming area markers was over her head. It has been so dry this summer that the water was only just a little over knee-high on the tallest grandchild. But they still had fun playing and splashing.
Later in the afternoon we all drove to Jon and Jeri's house close by on Prior Lake, where Jon took us all for a ride in his pontoon. It is a beautiful boat with room for everybody. After a tour of the lake, he anchored in a bay and the kids, as well as some of the older, grown-up kids, dived and jumped off the boat to splash and swim. The younger ones don't do much swimming, but mostly jumping and splashing, climbing back on the boat to jump and splash some more. Some of the younger ones were trying out their diving skills, and I would hear a loud slapping sound, followed by a spray of water. Each time I would hear Jon say, "Keep your head down." I think they sort of got the hang of it after a while. It was a gorgeous, sunny summer day...perfect for an afternoon on the lake.
On towards suppertime, we headed back to the house, where David fired up the grill and cooked hamburgers for all while we set out the rest of the food that everyone had brought. If anyone went home hungry, it was their own fault. Seems we had enough food for a small army - potato salad, fruit salad, veggies with dip and a wonderful chocolate cake that Jill made that had cherries baked into it, topped with whipped cream. Kissed my diet good-bye, I did. Even Pooh, the Golden Doodle, got into the act, cruising under the tables looking for food the kids might have dropped. I think she made out pretty well!
After supper we sat and talked for a time, and the kids got a game of "fetch the tennis ball" going with Pooh. Both the kids and the dog have boundless energy. I'm guessing that the kids slept pretty well that night, after a day of swimming and jumping and splashing and running and fresh air and sunshine.
After hugs all around, it was time for me to go home. I downloaded the pictures I had taken from my camera, and looking through them, reflected on what a really nice day I had with my family. Often, when talking to people my age and older, I hear complaints from them that they never spend time with their grown children and grandchildren. Everyone is too busy for them, they say. I feel truly blessed that every now and then, mine will take the time and effort to spend a day like this with me.