Family event stirs new appreciation

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By Jennifer Caldwell

 I wonder why there are just some things people are incapable of understanding until they reach adulthood. When I say “people” I’m really more specifically referring to myself.

For instance, when I was growing up I knew my parents loved me. But I had no clue how much. The truth is the knowledge of the intensity of a mother’s love for her children completely escaped me until I was face to face with my very own child.

Now that I’m older I’m finding there are other things that passed over my head during my youth.

One of those elusive facts is the importance of family.

The older I get the more I realize if you have a good family that is really enough. I have one. And this past weekend I traveled north to Ashland, Ky to celebrate it.

Going to the Roberts family reunion is something I have done for almost as many years as I have been alive, and that is more than a few. But now instead of the eye rolling teenager who couldn’t wait to get home to my friends I have become someone who wants to know the stuff the Roberts clan is made of and is proud I get to share their genes.

My great grandparents were John and Cora Alice Elswick Roberts. They were not wealthy people. But what they lacked in financial means they made up for as the proud parents of 10 children, five girls and five boys. My maternal grandmother was one of them. I just have to interject here, that I recently had the opportunity to have five children ages seven and under in my care for about 24 hours. Even with all the comforts modern technology has to offer I was ready for a trip to the looney bin when it was over. Anyway, of those 10, five went off to serve during World War II. All of them made it home.

In this day and time it’s by the grace of God that any kids turn out okay. But my great granddaddy and mamaw managed to raise 10 kind, generous, productive citizens that have made this world a better place. And those 10 children went on to have families, each with a unique story to tell. I am fascinated by it. Actually, I am blown away.

And while I’m pretty sure my kids will have to learn what a precious treasure family is the same way I did, over time. I hope I will have the patience to do what my own mother did which is to just keep telling them whether they seem to be listening or not.

And one of the first things I plan on sharing is a simple truth Mamaw Roberts wrote in her journal very close to the end of her life.

“Life goes on as usual, with all the trials and tribulations, woes and sorrows, but I just look to our blessed Lord. There is plenty of sunshine in everyone’s life if they look for it. I always try my best to look for the best of all things. The very worst of us has some good in them.”