Yesterday we celebrated my grandmother's 75th birthday. We invited family from all over - my grandmother's siblings, all their kids, all their kids' kids, and all their kids' kids' kids. People came from all over the country, and while we still had a number of people that just couldn't make it, we still had 120 people RSVP. I'm certain even more than that showed up.
My parents have a fairly spacious house in Norco and every room was filled - living room, family room, den, dining room, the front courtyard, and the side yard. We even had people spilling into the back yard as well.
We haven't had a large family party for a long time. It had been so long, and the family is so large that we had used nametags. You not only wrote down your name, but also your relationship to the birthday girl - just to refresh everyone's memory.
It was a good thing too, because I tell you I haven't seen some of those people in a decade or so. Some of the great-grandchildren or great-grandneices I haven't seen since they were babies or still in the womb. Now they are 5, 10, or even 15 years old.
It was a good party, and well planned. Aside from the horrendous traffic on the way there, everything went really smoothly. A bunch of grandma's friends from her assisted living home came out in a limo, the food showed up shortly afterwords, there were toasts and some people told stories of funny or precious memories they had with grandma. Everyone wandered around catching up with family they hadn't seen in years. We even had people there that were actually of no relation, but my family tends to acquire others along the way.
At one point we tried to put us all in one room and take a group picture. Obviously someone has to take the picture, and with that many cameras, it would be impossible to get us to hold still that long. So we settled for hearding everyone into the back room and just snapping away while everyone talked and switched spots.
My dad's family knows how to have a good time, and though I went home around 11pm, the party went on without me until 4am. In fact, it went so well that I heard rumblings of having family parties more often...