Embrace your ‘I do’ tribe.

I married into a family that loves to mark momentous occasions by all getting together. Over the years my husband, his three siblings, their spouses, the grandchildren and of course his parents, (and sometimes his aunts and uncles) have gotten together to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and B’nai Mitzvahs.

My family of origin didn’t do this, but when my grandparents were alive, my mother’s parents got us together for big celebrations that included my grandparents, aunts, uncles and all seven of us grandchildren. So when my husband’s family started these large celebrations a year after I got married, it felt familiar to me, and I looked forward to them, even with the stress of getting together, traveling and old family patterns that emerge in us as adults.

Starting in 1991, on through to 2006, my husband’s extended family celebrated my father-in-law’s 65th, 70th, 75th and finally his 80th birthdays; in 2004 we feted both my in-laws at their 50th wedding anniversary and there has been seven the B’nai Mitzvahs. We have partied in Washington, DC; St. Louis, MO; Los Altos, California; Hilton Head, SC; Kings Mill (Williamsburg), VA; Nemacolin, PA and the Eastern Shore of Maryland on the Chesapeake.

Tomorrow we will to honor my mother-in-law’s 85th birthday by spending the next three days in Carmel, CA. We will celebrate her with lunch at Nepenthe, dinner at Bistro Giovanni, culminating in our last night when we will fete her with toasts, stories, songs and skits at The Pacific Edge.

I’m sure that there will be disagreements, slights and disputes after all there are 11 opinionated Sloss-Green family members getting together for three days. But there will also be camaraderie, shared memories and love. Family reunions provide an important way that my husband’s family, and me by association, hang out, celebrate and reconnect with people who share something in common, even if it just memories of past times and people who are no longer alive.

An aside: many, many years ago, when I was 15 or 16, one of my first cousins told me that she had nothing in common with any of us, her extended family, as her excuse for being moody and morose at a family event. Since her wedding, I have seen her only once or twice in the last 30 years. In my book, she and I miss out on a relationship that contains memories of our growing up, seeing each other at family events and shared holidays. A loss that I mourn, but assume she does not.

Marriage means we enter into another family, and find a way to make their traditions our own. Otherwise there is strife and conflict at every milestone birthday, every holiday, every life event. During my 25+ year marriage I have seen my in-laws, sister-in-laws, brother-in-laws, great aunt and uncle in-laws at birthdays and funerals, Mitzvahs and holidays. These are the people whose tribe I joined when I said “I do” all these many years ago when I became Sloss.

On the eve of all packing up and creating a ‘Sloss (Green) family’ village in Carmel for the next three days I found myself nostalgic with memories, both good and bad, of past family celebrations and departed family members. And I remember back to my childhood, thinking of my extended family members, wishing them well where ever they are.

What kinds of family milestones does your family celebrate? How do you mark the occasions?



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9 thoughts on “Embrace your ‘I do’ tribe.

  1. Leslie Conway

    We do! We just came back from a big family party on my husband’s side of the family. We arrived from Florida, Arizona, NY, NJ. We brought babies and ate with 5 over 80 year olds. It was a great time. One of the greatest joys of my life is sharing extended family with kids. I pull them aside and say, “Look around. All of these people share a common ancestry with you, love you and will always be there for you.” It’s an amazing message and blessing. Glad to hear you enjoy your family is such a way!

    Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      What a wonderful way to teach the children how to connect with their family. This most recent family event for us only included two generations, but even so, it was great fun in a lovely location. I enjoyed reconnecting with my sister-in-laws and brother-in-laws as adults, without all the teens and young adults, more so than I expected!

      Reply
  2. Jane Tuttle

    Lovely tribute to the importance of valuing family. I admire your dedication to making these dates a priority. Enjoy and happy birthday to David’s mother.

    Reply
    1. frank spigel

      Heidi
      You remind me of 2 reunions that took place on the Spigel side of the family. One I think was either in 2000 or 2001, That reunion took place in Richmond, Va., at my first brother Jim didn’t want to go, said it was too hot in the summer, However his wife Dinorah persuauded him to go, because she said she wanted to meet people on the Spigel side of the family. They came with 2 sons Carlos and Jake. Dinorah and Carlos wound up with new friends. Carlos and his new friend attended each other’s bar Mitzvah, Carlos’s Bar Mitzvah, was in New Mexico, and his friend’s was in Philadelphia. Dinorah found several new friends, and they get together each time they make a trip to the Eat coast. I almost forgot to add, they attended my adult B’nai Mitzvah in 2005 in Washington,DC.
      Happy birthday to Virginia Green Sloss.

      Reply
      1. frank spigel

        The next reunion that I attended occurred in 2006 in Florida, In fall of 2005 I received a call from
        A woman named Nancy Jocobson, who told me she was my Dad’s first cousin. She told me that the in the winter of 2006, A cousin of our’s Selma Klingenstein was going to honored by the Hebrew university At a special dinner in Sarasota, Florida. At that dinner my first cousin Stanley Prusiner was going to be the keynote speaker. Stanley received the Nobel Prize in Sweeden in 1996. My brother Jim and his wife Dinorah attended the ceremony. Kay, said I would receive an
        invitation, I persuauded to make sure my brother Jim got an invitation, and he attended as well.
        Perhaps your Dad may have heard of the Klingenstein family. Selma had awinter place in Longboat Key. Once again I met cousin’s I had never met. In fact today, I still correspond with one of my Cousin’s Kay Jacobson Levine, and on my way home from a
        Argentina in 2011, we had breakfast together in Miami. Kay lives in Miami and her Mom lives in Norfolk, Va.

        Reply
        1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

          We had a fun experience getting to know your brother and his wife last January when we were in New Zealand. It was wonderful to have a place to stay with them and a real treat that we really liked them. I always get a kick out of seeing long lost cousins and relatives. Not sure why, making those connections with my extended family or my husband’s means something to me.

          Reply
      2. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

        It is fun to when we find out that we actually like our extended family. Great that Dinorah had that experience!

        Reply
    2. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Thank you. I appreciate how my husband’s family prioritizes all getting together. Early this summer, many of us were in DC for my niece’s bat mitzvah. In fact I think everyone was there but the 4 CA kids (two of whom are mine).

      Reply
  3. Pingback: Embrace Your “I Do” Tribe: Sloss Family Reunion 2014 | The Magic of Mothering

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