Monday, September 24, 2012


My Mother-in-Law's eightieth birthday was celebrated recently.  Eloise (the birthday lady)  has three children who each have two children.  One of those six grandchildren has a child of his own.  All children, grandchildren, and great grandchild were present and accounted for at the pahrtaaay.

Now back to Eloise.  Stay with me here.  She is the oldest of eight children.  One has passed away, and all six others were present yesterday at their big sister's birthday party.  And some of theirs.  And a few of of theirs. All in all, there were fifty or more folks celebrating together.  These folks are but the tip of the iceberg.  At Christmas, there are generally around a hundred.  But I digress.

My children, my husband and I have discovered that we each, in our hearts, are at our happiest, our calmest and most peaceful during these times.  When family gathers.  It does not get any better anywhere anytime but to be in the midst of the people who love you the most and have been with you the longest.  They get who you are, and they love you because of it and in spite of it. 

My oldest child craves these gatherings - and he knows it.  My youngest child adores them but hasn't found his craving for them yet.  I am blessed beyond knowing to have a child who is fifteen and knows already that he craves his family.  (Except, of course, for me.  Moms are idiots.  I'll be sure and let you know when this concept subsides.)  Youngest is still developing his conscious understanding of the importance of family and I am waiting until the light bulb goes on and he 'gets' how magical they are for the soul.

Now that the stage is set, I'll tell you the story.  (Are you still'with me?) Anyway. My Sister-in-Law and her husband went over (Mama lives in Alabama on the lake) on Friday and spent the weekend,  getting ready for the shindig on Sunday.  Sister-in-Law practices Reiki.  She took her table and set it up in one of the bedrooms.

In addition and to add to the activities, we (When you've been married into a fam for 32 years you have earned the right to drop the "in-law" status.  They're mine too.) have a cousin who is a Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine who also practices Reiki.  She was present as well.

So.  after we ate and sang Happy Birthday and so on, unbeknownst to me (I was washing dishes and such) my hunky hubby climbed onto the Reiki table at his sister's suggestion.  DC cousin brought her thumper thingie too.

From the kitchen I began to hear chortles, belly laughs, and finally uproarious group laughter.  I HAD to check it out.  In following the happy noises I was led to the bedroom where Reiki and Chiropractic was being practiced on a victim customer patient and watched by an audience.   Patient was face down.  Jokes and comments were flying about the room, laughter echoing like whirlpools in the air.  Shoulders were shaking and heads bobbing with laughter.

"I know that backside," I thought.  Know it well.  Hey that's my hubby!  Sister was at his head with her hands cupped at each side of hubby's head and cousin was at his feet measuring his leg length and using her thumper thingie.  All manner of cousins and Aunts and Uncles were in the audience;  some watching with amusement, some cracking jokes, and all having the time of their lives.

My hubby was in HOG HEAVEN.  How do things get any better than to be where he was?  He was the patient.  He had four loving, healing family hands on and over him and a dozen sets of eyes on the three of them like actors on a stage.  Familiarity, sense of history, connection, acceptance, and peace were almost visual in the room.  The room vibrated with love.  As my eyes slowly panned the scene I subconsciously thought, "I wonder if this is what Heaven feels like?"    Cousins and siblings and parents wandered in and out of the room, watching for a few minutes then heading off to join another cluster on the porch or the dock or the kitchen table.  Some were firmly planted on chairs, beds or stools, staying for the entire show.

My husband was almost a different person on the way home from this party.  He didn't recognize it consciously, but the experience had affected him deeply.  It lasted for days - things that normally produce stresses for my big guy and manifest themselves in many forms - headaches, neckaches, anxiety attacks, negative disposition, and more - he was able to handle with more ease and less lag.  Decisions were easier to make, priorities easier to discover.

My takeaway is that family is healing.  Yes, Reiki and Chiropractic are specific healers, means toward the goal, but the third practitioner in the room that day was family.  Clan.  Consanguinity. Kinship.  Brotherhood.  Connection.  Lineage.   It's like a shot in the arm.

When it wears off we need to go back for more.  It's addictive, in a good way.  May we all stay addicted and coming back for our regular fix.