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Growth Spurts: Family Makes the Best Memories

When I was growing up, my family and I spent a lot of holidays and Sunday afternoons at my grandparents’ house, and my aunt, uncle, and cousins were there, too. I have vivid memories of my siblings and me playing all sorts of things with our cousins–from Easter egg hunts to jewelry store, and from music programs to football, war, and “The Dukes of Hazzard.” We covered quite a broad spectrum in our playing, but what memories we made!

In between play times, we would be called in to eat a meal prepared by our grandmother–or Nannie, as we called her. Her cooking was so amazing that we really didn’t have to be told twice to come eat. Of course, we all had to sit at the “kid table,” which was fine with us, since the “adult table” would most certainly be boring. Before our grandfather (Bapba) went to take his place at the boring table, he would talk to us at our table and tell us we’d better eat all our food, “or we’d have to deal with him.” Then he’d let a little smirk creep up on his lips. We loved the way Bapba teased, and we knew that in another hour or two, we’d all be arguing over who got to sit in his lap to join him in the first tastes of that day’s homemade ice cream–ice cream that my Bapba literally sweated and strained to hand-churn just for us. To this day, Blue Bell has nothing on him!

I love memories that come from family gatherings. My family and I just returned from a weekend at my sister’s house, where my son and her sons crammed in as much football, LEGO-building, and comic-designing as possible in the amount of time that they had. They also camped out in the backyard, which my girls participated in as well. On our way home from their house, we dropped my son off to spend the night with another cousin and picked up my niece to spend the night with us. So my kids are getting lots of cousin time this week, and they love it!

I think that these organic relationships amidst extended family members are important. We share the same roots, the same history, and–let’s be honest–some of the same craziness! Sometimes the relationships can be difficult or strained, but they are still members of our family, and we are connected to each other.

Eight years ago, Kevin and I made the decision to move back to Mississippi from Maryland, simply because some of our family members lived here or close to here. We wanted our children to know their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins well. Some of them we get to see more often than others, but we do make a point to see and spend time with each one of them. And when a lot of time has passed between visits, our children let us hear about it!

So now I find myself at the “boring” adult table at family gatherings. But you know what? It’s not boring. Since I don’t see my siblings and their spouses very often, we particularly treasure our time together. We reminisce about our family memories, and we enjoy watching all of our children creating their own memories.

I just hate that our children will never get to have some of Bapba’s homemade ice cream.


Carrie Bevell Partridge wrote this article while sitting in her Nannie’s old chair. That in itself brings back floods of memories.

About The Author

Carrie Partridge

Carrie Bevell Partridge grew up in Memphis, TN with her parents and four siblings. She attended Mississippi College, where she met her husband Kevin. They have been married for 20 years and have five children. They live in Ridgeland, MS. Carrie has written the “Growth Spurts” column and managed social media for Parents & Kids Magazine since 2011. You can read more of her work at and

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