Family: Lifelong Connections

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Unconditional love is the thread woven in the tapestry of what insures a family survives. Life contains youth and aging, high points and lows, victories and do-overs, and goodbyes and hellos. Along the way, we’re given the gift of family to help us walk through every milestone and season of life, sometimes supporting us and sometimes we’re supporting them. Our families may or may not be linked to us with blood ties, but the heart is our bond. We blend our unique talents and insights to make a positive statement in our world. I’m so fortunate to share that special relationship with my siblings and their spouses.

My sister and her husband live in Mansfield, Ohio. My brother and his wife live in Erie, Pennsylvania, and my husband and I are in Houston, Texas. We’re constantly in touch. Once a year my siblings and their spouses put aside busy schedules to meet in Ohio for a day together. This is the one day a year where we are all kids again. We pile into a van, and off we go. The joy is not the destination—our mini-reunion is all about the quality hours. The six of us know each other inside and out, and our conversation is mingled with teasing and sharing the latest news about our kids and grandkids.

One year we boarded a train in Akron en route to Cuyahoga National Park. This was a new experience for us, and I couldn’t get to the train station fast enough. I drank a huge coffee on the way there, which added to the adrenaline flow and my inability to sit still. We arrived at the train station early and talked long before the train arrived. We learned the train stations painted red are the original, and those painted yellow are reproductions. Some aspects of the train station were much like the original.

A conductor, dressed in turn of the century attire, made us all feel welcome. He was personable and had the gift of hospitality. I wouldn’t be surprised if he played Santa at Christmas.

The park is rich in natural beauty brimming with reminders of canal days and the industry that once boomed along the Cuyahoga River. The train stopped at various scenic points to allow passengers the option of exploring the rustic wilderness or shop and dine at the local businesses. I was a little envious of those who boarded the train with their bicycles. Sure looked like fun, but no one else in the group agreed with me.

Oh, but our day wasn’t over. In the late afternoon, we drove into Holmes County to catch a glimpse of the Amish community. We viewed a few of our favorite places like Country Gatherings in Berlin and enjoyed dinner at an Amish restaurant—Mrs. Yoder’s Kitchen. There we parked the van alongside horse-drawn buggies and walked in alongside the locals to this popular restaurant. The food, as always, was homemade, delicious and plentiful.

As dusk approached, we headed back to our respective homes and hotels, tired, happy, and filled with memories. Reflections of the day showed me how blessed I am to have a family who is loving and care about each other. We understand the power of family—a lifelong connection.

How do you strengthen your family connections?

DiAnn Mills



DiAnn’s Library Corner

Library Tip: Summer and family mean fun. Enlist your patrons to share their photos of family fun.


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