This is the first Kitchen reunion the Bionic Man and I have been able to attend in thirteen years. The last reunion I went to was also my first. I went along as the Bionic Man's girlfriend, and had so much fun that I decided I should marry into the family. I think it is pretty impressive to be able to throw reunions that actually bring people into the family, not scare them off!
So, when we were able to attend this year, I took notes. Happily, I am willing to share some of the things I learned.
1. Location, location, location. Don't stress about it. Find a place that is close the majority of attendees that will fit the size of the crowd. In this case, it is the church gym nearby Grandpa Kitchen's home. The reunions used to be in Grandpa and Grandma's backyard, but that became hard on them as they grew older. The church is free, air-conditioned, and has plenty of space and restrooms. Everyone had a good time, despite the lack of a lake or roller coaster or resort. The attendees packed a lot of fun into a few hours, which eliminated the need for planning sleeping arrangements and multiple meals.
Grandpa had also brought Grandma's stuffed animal collection to the reunion. Each animal had a tag with a number on it, and the grandchildren and great grandchildren got to draw numbers and get their very own stuffed animal from the collection to take home with them. You can imagine what a hit that was.
5. Make and Keep Traditions. The Kitchens have found a fun and memorable tradition for their family reunions. Everyone who attends brings along a few things from their homes that they are ready to part with. Grandpa had a number of things from his home, keepsake items that he was ready for others to enjoy. These items were all "sold" for the Kitchen Bucks that we earned participating in the games and activities earlier in the day. The miscellaneous items were sold at the Kitchen Store, and the big-ticket items were sold at an auction. Let me tell you, the auction was hilarious. Only fake money was involved, and all that could be earned right there at the reunion, via participation.
6. Enjoy Being a Family. It was delightful to catch up with the Bionic Man's aunts and uncles and cousins. The activities were well planned, but there was plenty of time to visit and enjoy one another, too. There is a wonderful spirit about the Kitchen Family. I think it is so beautiful to see the good fruits born of seeds sown many years ago by a young couple who chose to be firm in their faith and family. I am grateful to have joined the Kitchen Clan by marriage, and look forward to many more reunions.