Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Part 2- The Camacho Family Reunion...

And the day was here...Saturday, July 20th
After 6 months of planning meetings like this last one a few days before, the day had arrived for the 3rd Annual Camacho Family Reunion...in LA, and we were excited! We had our agenda planned, menus set, special water bottles and stickers made, we knew who was doing what and when, and it was time to wait for our guests to set things into motion. Last year's reunion had been in Ensenada, Mexico and it had landed on my brother's wedding date so we had not been able to attend. Jerry and I were in particularly excited for this experience as we had heard how great it had been to meet and spend the weekend with our extended family.   

The reunion was scheduled to start on Saturday at the park, but because we had families coming from the Tijuana and Ensenada areas, they had arranged to arrive on Friday night. So of course, what choice do we have but to start the party early by having
carne asada tacos at 11pm!!!
  It was a nice way to break the ice, meet, get the introductions out of the way, and I feel like that helped start the forging of this unexplainable familial feel that was only to get stronger over the next few days.

Each of our families had been assigned an out of town family to host at each of our homes for the weekend, and Jerry and I had made sure that his cousin Claudia and her family felt right at home. I married into the family so I had never met them before, and Jerry had very little recollection of them so we were a little anxious, but they turned out to be a super sweet family, and it was honestly very easy to feel like we had known them forever. Their 8 year old son, Carlos, obviously fit right in with our boys, and I loved that this situation made them find creative ways to communicate with each other as our boys only speak English and Carlos only spoke Spanish. Time for our boys to get a culture reality check! 

Saturday was here and it was time for the park!

We had a general agenda for the day, but at the same time it was meant to be casual and fun and a time for conversations and more bonding. All our events start out with a family prayer, and the one main theme that was truly scheduled for the whole weekend was for the Camacho family history to be spoken about by my Father In Law and his 2 sisters.  The purpose being that the 2nd and 3rd generations attending could hear all about our ancestors who have passed away in order to carry on those important family stories and legacies for the future generations to come. This reunion was also scheduled purposely to be held on July 20th in memory of the birthday of the  matriarch of the family, Abuelita Beatrice.

Unfortunately, because Jerry and I were scheduled to pick up lunch at that time, we were not able to stay and hear the first stories told, but when we got back the kids were having a volleyball game and everyone was ready to eat.  After lunch it was more talking, playing guitar,  and a fantastic game of volleyball for the adults. I decided to play after a while and had such a great time (and not a bad serve btw)!!! I'm not sure if my team won fair and square, BUT there was a heck of a lot of rallying, do overs, and LOTS of laughing and fun! 

A little family history is in order at this point...My Father-In-Law, Jorge, comes from a family of 14 brothers and sisters- 5 of which are still living, but only he and 2 of his sisters were able to attend this reunion. We were expecting another uncle from TJ, some cousins and aunt and her family from Texas, but sadly they were weren't able to make it.  So it was decided early on in the planning that each family branch according to first generation brother/sister and attending region would be assigned a specific color t-shirt to wear to easily distinguish them and to add some fun and color to the family pictures that came next...

The starting point- 
Jorge (my FIL), Tia Loli and Tia Betty

The Red Family- 
Cousin Claudia and Family (the family we hosted)
Cousin Pillo and Family
(son and daughter of Tio Guillermo, my FIL's brother)
Region- Tijuana, Mexico

The Blue Family-
Tia Loli and Tonio Franquiz and family 
Region- Duarte, CA

 The Yellow Family- 
Tia Betty and Rodolfo
with their sons and grandchildren
Region- Ensenada, Mexico
And the Green Family-
  Jorge and Gioconda's family
Region- Los Angeles, CA

And a picture of all the family branches together as one.

Again...I love being a part of such a big family!

The Time Line

After the park we headed back to my In-Laws house for coffee and pastries, more family history talks and conversation. Then each member of  the family was asked to fill in a time line with their  birthdays and wedding dates of those present and past just to see how we all fit into the Camacho family timeline from the early 1900's to the present.  
I think this idea turned out to be a very special moment for everyone. It was nice to stand back and just watch the conversations happen amongst everyone. Connections were made, common birth-dates realized, and we saw pockets in time where each of the generations were being born and raised next. It was truly an awesome way to connect everyone once again!

 The After Party - We traveled far... just next door to Jorge Luis and Adriana's house for the "after party" that was destined to be the highlight of the night for sure ;).

 Everybody was tired and spent from playing in the sun, but ready to let loose and that we did. Let's just say we had a really good time with our boys acting as DJ's, the kids dancing, and some of us grown ups (drinking age only) enjoying a game a beer pong and Flip cup. TOO much fun really, but there was no harm in being in a safe family environment, enjoying some good music, and a few drinks with the family. (Thank you Adriana for these collages...)

Some other special moments of the day for me...

Sunday,  July 21st -  Sunday's events were to be held at our house, so after we all set up, we left for Spanish mass at Our Lady of Grace. I had let the celebrating priest know ahead of time that our family was in from out of town so we were introduced as a group at the beginning of church and then we were given a special surprise blessing as the congregation put their hands over us at the end of mass..super nice! This meant a lot to all of us, but mostly to my FIL and his sisters as it understandably turned out to be a special highlight for them.

Then we finished off the event with a BBQ at our house, the last of the talks and few more family pictures...

There were many special moments at the end...tearful thank you's and heartfelt sentiments from many that spoke for how everyone was feeling. But most of all, I think there was a grand feeling of love and admiration for everyone in the room, and a true desire to do this more often. It was an undeniably special weekend that brought not only the whole Camacho family closer (near and far), but our immediate Camacho family as well.  As a family we had all worked really hard to make this happen for my FIL, but in the end we were the ones gifted with its complete success all the way around.

Thank you to the entire Camacho family for such an amazing weekend experience,
for giving me the honor to be a part of this reunion and a part of this beautiful family!!!

With lots of love,

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