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Growth Spurts: Family Reunions

So many Fourth of July holidays when I was young were spent driving with my family from our home in Memphis, TN to my great-aunt’s house in Batesville, MS. I didn’t know Aunt Molly and Uncle June all that well, but I always looked forward to going to their house for the day to see them and some of my other aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. on my dad’s side of the family. I was pretty shy about talking to everyone, but I was always intrigued to know more about these people with whom I shared a blood line.

There was always plenty of food, and we all filtered into various rooms to find a spot to sit down and eat. I liked looking around the house at all the photos and knick-knacks, because they gave me more insight into my family. I liked listening to my second and third cousins talk–especially the teenagers–,but I was pretty shy about talking to them myself. After lunch, several of us cousins usually made our way to the pond on the property and proceeded to shoot bottle rockets across the water. I mostly watched. And prayed. Because my older boy cousins inevitably ended up aiming bottle rockets at each other. I personally just liked the ones that shot directly into the pond and made the FTHWOOP sound.

A couple of hours later came the best part of the day for us kids. We drove over to my second cousin’s house, and they had a swimming pool (complete with both a diving board and a slide!), AND they had a trampoline! Talk about heaven! We jumped, slid, swam, dived, chased, raced, retrieved pennies and such from the bottom of the pool, worked on perfecting our in-water handstands, got thrown around in the pool by our dads, and only took breaks for watermelon or homemade ice cream or something like that.

When it was time to head back home, there was much groaning and complaining by the kids. It didn’t last too long, though, because we were usually sound asleep after just a few minutes in the warm car. And we knew we’d be back the next summer.

Next week my family and I are heading to a reunion with my side of the family, and I love hearing my children speak with great anticipation about it! We get together with them for more than just a day, but it still only happens once or twice a year. These are such special relationships, and we are creating wonderful family memories together. There will be much swimming, playing, eating, talking, laughing, marveling at how much the kids have grown and changed, getting to know the two new babies in the family, and there may be a performance or two.

No matter how big or small your family is, no matter how often you see each other, I hope that you will create some lasting memories together this summer. Give your kids something to look forward to today and something to reminisce about for years to come.

Try to avoid bottle rocket wars, however.


Carrie Bevell Partridge still breaks for watermelon and homemade ice cream.

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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