Conflicts in scheduling have prevented us from attending the past few years, but with an open calendar and the knowledge that these are family members we see maybe once a year at the most, we packed up our dishes to pass and headed south. It was a quiet ride, and as we were pulling off of the interstate Elaina announced from the back of the Traverse, "I wrote a speech. I'm going to read it at the reunion". Now, anyone that has followed this blog long enough probably understands why I immediately experienced a moment of panic. Elaina giving a speech? In front of a group of people, almost entirely made up of people that she has never met? I anticipated that this could not end well. We coaxed her into practicing her speech in the car (mostly so I could censor what she had planned), and I was instantly embarrassed at my fears and doubts. In a 40 minute car ride, my eight year old wrote something that perfectly captured the point of the day and she brought me to tears. Here is what she wrote, written exactly as she did in her composition book:
Hi I am Elaina P*****, the daughter of Davied and Amanda P***** and I have something to say
note to self next page ------------->
Today is a day all family in the bolen fammily come here to scelibrate our family. When I call your name please stand-up. Kim, Pam, Marsha, Dale, Amanda, Daveid, McKenna, Ty, Tammy, Margy, Phil, and Erik, cari, ella, and cayden. if I didn't call your name still stand. Everybody please make a toast. We are a family we will never not be a family we wil be together forever adn ever and I know I am very little to do this but I couldn't help it I love my family so I had to do this! Fammilly can never not be a family. No matter how hard we all try It will never ever work. We will allways be there for each otehr. Like when we are sad, upset, hurt, sick, lonely, silly, frusterated, mad, and entertaining. family is everything to everybody without family you wouldn't even be here today so remember never say your not even going to be part of my family any more. Thank you
There's a little bit of, shall we say conflict, between a few of the members of the family so Elaina's points seemed especially poignant. I think my dad said it best: it's pretty remarkable at her age that Elaina was able to nail exactly what the reunion should be about.
Anyway, I was pretty floored by her spontaneous act and crazy proud of her courage for standing up in front of everyone to deliver her message. As always, she never ceases to surprise me in the most amazing ways.