We’re transcontinental. After we moved our little nuclear family to Ohio almost eighteen years ago, our youngest child Beth moved back to California to attend college, stay, and start a little clan of her own. Meanwhile, our extended family members have continued to migrate across the continent and graft themselves into family trees from Colombia, Mexico, Quebec…

So last week my wife Trudy and I flew to Los Angeles for an early Christmas with Beth and our new son-in-law Sergio, as well as Trudy’s multinational clan.

It was messy. Nothing went as planned. Our car rental office was in the opposite direction they’d sent us, and we drug our luggage for 45 minutes before we found the place. But at least we were lost together.

“Christmas morning” came three weeks early, with only some of the gifts we’d planned to bring (others are still on the way). But at least we were together. Even Beth’s older sibling and lifelong confidant Elliot was able to fly in for a few days. Plus, we got to meet our new grandcats!

The next day, a lemon of a “scenic” hike took us past a vast trash and dumpster enclave alongside a blaring freeway. Still, we joked and laughed and made lemonade. Together.

The day after that, we drove up to the local San Gabriel Mountains. I’d longed once again to see the sugar pine forests and panoramic vistas we’d experienced there as a young SoCal family. But nothing was as we remembered it. The view from the spectacular Rim of the World Highway was obscured by smog. And our planned walk amid the pines turned out to be a pine-less stumble amid darkling scrub brush. Still, we stumbled along together.

No one knew what to call our extended family event. Possibly a “Pre-Christmas Gathering Because Nephew Jordan and His Adorable Little French-Speaking Family from Quebec are Here and so are Trudy, Mitch and Elliot from Ohio, Plus It’s Big Chris’s Birthday and Next Week Will Be Little Aunt Sandee’s Birthday…Celebration?” No. We didn’t call it anything, we just gathered. And ate. And laughed. And hugged. And took pictures. Together.

Yesterday, our daughter Beth apologized for not having arranged things more seamlessly. But Mom (Trudy) told her it didn’t matter. And she was right. Because we’d had the only thing that really mattered. We’d had Us…


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Us…Together

  1. Mitch
    Family is often messy or worse but family is still one of the most important things in our lives. Have a wonderful holiday season,

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Amen, Mitch! When you’re together, that’s all you need. I think people are appreciating that concept more after being kept apart for so much of the past three years.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. yakpro2015 says:

    Amazing that Trudy looks like the youngest woman there! Blessings to you two. Glad it worked out “together”May the rest of your holidays be “merry & bright” And off course abundantly blessed with the presence of our dear Savior!Love and hugs,Joe & Samii

    Joseph Yakovetic 4480 Powderhorn Place Drive Clermont, Florida 34711

    mobile: 909.241.6088

    SDG Soli Deo Gloria “To God Alone the Glory”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Victoria says:

    Lovely…in every way! Thanks for sharing, Mitch. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. pkadams says:

    Sounds like a typical wonderful family gathering !

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Paula Light says:

    Sorry it was smoggy, but hey no blizzard! Lovely family 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  7. (Raises hand) Um, Mitch…Colombian-American here…unless you mean a grad from Columbia University or a resident of one of several U.S. places named “Columbia,” surely you meant “Colombia,” right?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Even the sound of your adult child’s voice or the smile on a Zoom is a warm experience, of course, falling short of a hug.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Glad to see your family knows how to make lemonade from lemons. The bottom line is…you all got to see each other and enjoy that lemonade together!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. says:

    Great looking bunch. Family time can sometimes be totally disastrous, but your group seems to be having a great time.🎄🎄

    Liked by 1 person

  11. C.A. Post says:

    Sounds similar (vaguely) to events I am reading about in “A Severe Mercy” by Sheldon Vanauken. He warns in the early chapters about “creeping separateness,” which he says is “the killer of love.” What an amazing book, just like the love of your family… together.

    ❤️&🙏, c.a.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a wonderful gathering!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Janice Reid says:

    Sounds perfect to me!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pam Webb says:

    Mitch, the attitude of being together even when the visit isn’t perfect is a lovely takeaway. It’s not about presents but all about the presence.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. And that’s what it’s all about!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. pastorpete51 says:

    Sounds wonderful. We are just about to take the plunge halfway across the continent to kids and grandkids and not as warm as Florida weather. Our son was bemoaning the onset of frigid weather and how it will restrict our schedule, but I can’t think of a thing in Texas prettier than my granddaughter’s face or beautiful to hear than our grandsons’ stories. Have a blessed Christmas Mitch, wherever you are when you get there!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Sheree says:

    Wow! You have a large family. I just have two sisters and my OH.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. revruss1220 says:

    I love those big, messy, laughter-filled family gatherings. Thanks for sharing this moment with us. The love radiates off the screen in these photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Merry Christmas, Mitch. God bless you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. rwfrohlich says:

    Yes, that’s what matters the most – being together.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. The best times are usually the ones where things don’t go to plan. Good memories 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  22. mitchteemley says:

    You make a strong point, Solicitor Nicola. ;>)


  23. Manu says:

    Being together is the most important thing. It overrides the unpleasantness of situations like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. An Audience of One says:

    What a perfectly lovely post, Mitch. And you’re so right, that it’s about doing, well, whatever it is you’re doing, together!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. rothpoetry says:

    Family is wonderful. All the peripherals are secondary. Looks like you had a really great experience. A beautiful family.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I love family pictures even if I don’t know anybody in them. The one you shared is great-so natural and with a lot of smiles-but where are your grandcats, Mitch?

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Jon says:

    Great pix Mitch! Merry Christmas to you all!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Thotaramani says:

    Lovely 🌹 pictures Mitch! with family members. I like people and family friends celebrating together.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Lovely! Many happy returns to you and yours during the holidays. 🎄
    That cute little boy looks like he really enjoyed photobombing that pic! Great shot!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Ann Coleman says:

    You’re so right! All that matters is being together with your loved ones. The details are the small stuff…..

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Sometimes the best unplanned gatherings beat out the best planned gathering,

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Jennie says:

    Wonderful! Family first.

    Liked by 1 person

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