Three years of planning that finally arrived to reality over the past week-end. We drove to Cobalt, ON in order to attend a family reunion of my mother-in-law side of the family. Her mom – my husband’s grand-mother and my kids’ great-grand-mother – is the pillar of the family nowadays. Nevertheless everyone in this family was present. With over 13 children and their spouses, the grand-kids (36) and their spouses and great-grand-kids (52 to date) you can imagine that numerous people were present. In all, there were approximately 150 people attending this family reunion.
Each family had a different color in order to ease the recognition between each other. Apart from weddings and funerals, it was rare that everyone was at the same place at the same time. Even with weddings nowadays a lot has changed since usually kids are not invited or the invitations are limited to aunts and uncles. My mother-in-law family color was purple so over the past few months I purchased some purple shirts for every person in our family. And since we had two days of fun time planned, we needed to have at least two changes of purple clothes. Besides a photo session was planned for the Sunday afternoon with numerous shots to be taken.
So we left on Thursday and drove to North Bay and slept there for one night. The next day, we woke up and drove to Cobalt. When we arrived near the shores of Gillies Lake at a camp that was rented, already there were many trailers parked. We quickly found where we were to park for the week-end along with my parents-in-law and my brother-in-law family and proceeded to park our RV in our assigned spot. My sister-in-law and her family were going to sleep in the main building since they got a room there. My in-laws were already arrived and while my husband and oldest son set up our RV with my father-in-law and other uncles/cousins, I helped my mother-in-law to “decorate” the campsite with purple balloons. Meanwhile, the kids didn’t lose a minute to go play under the big tent in the middle of the area with other kids.
We had brought our generator last year since electricity wasn’t available there (more on this in next week’s post). We had previously filled our water tank as well since water hookup wasn’t possible either. We were ready to spend a few days of dry camping… a first for our family.
Games and activities for the kids were planned for the whole week-end. My kids did crafts, beading, painting on rocks, beading, hiking and played games with other kids. There was even a minnow race to cheer… My husband and our two oldest kids also played Texas horseshoe and another game of bean bag with one hole. Games of multiple holes bean bags and Bocce were also planned on the second day. There were even a few people to help in case of injuries. Everything was planned in order that everyone could have a great time during the week-end.
The place brought back memories to my husband who had attended camp there when he was younger. One such memory was when he got sick while entering the dining hall…. yeah the things husband’s would say while camping! But the best part of the week-end was the ability to connect and reconnect with family, to share memories and make new ones as well as see and hug the matriarch – Cécile. We also took the time to make a generation picture with her before we left on Sunday which is a little tradition we have as a family any time we can see her. Seeing we were not able to do one when Jasmine was born, it’s even more special to have this picture now.
The evenings were loud (one night of random music and entertainment by the little kids, one night of dance with a DJ, and one night for the talent show) but the best one was on the Sunday evening when the talent show presented the numerous talents of various people in the family. My daughter and youngest son had participated to a dance activity from another great-grandchild who is very talented and they perform the little dance they learned that evening along with other children. The evening ended with fireworks in the starry night sky. Knowing we had to drive back home the next morning we went to bed but I know that some members of the family stayed up most of the night talking and sharing more memories.
Having the RV was nice because we were able to retreat anytime we wanted in our temporary home. We could have the kids take a nap during the afternoon because we knew the evening would last late. And it was perfect for our breakfast and lunches which we had to cover ourselves. The suppers were planned and organized to encourage people to eat together. The kids mixed well with the other grandkids and had fun even if they didn’t know them at first. It was a blessing to have the RV there for me because I am not use to be around crowd for extended period of time (I was an only child while growing up). So at time, I would go back to the RV to relax a bit, grab a book and read while others would hang together and play. I needed to recharge my own batteries during the day and on the last evening so having the RV nearby was a blessing for me.
Already one aunt was starting to think how we could organize another one in the future. If one is planned, my husband and I think we will go again because we had a good time. It was a blast to reconnect with cousins and aunts and uncles, to meet the other great-grand-kids and have some personal time with my husband family while camping (even if it was dry camping). This experience also gave us the idea to schedule some camping time with my husband immediate family in the future – maybe on a yearly basis if possible.
It was interesting to experience dry camping, to use our generator in these conditions, and to discover new ideas just by talking to other family members who RV as well. I didn’t know what to expect to be honest but in the end it was a fun week-end in Northern Ontario. Cold nights made it easier in a way and it was a great experience. It rained a bit on and off on the Friday and Saturday but the sun was shining brightly on Sunday. I had the opportunity to observe the sunset over the lake, watched in awe the night sky, and listen to the loons on the lake early in the morning.
If you ever have the opportunity to attend a family reunion in the future, I wish you have a marvelous time.
How about you dear reader? Have you ever attended a family reunion with your RV? Please share your experience with me.