Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Thanks to my Aunt Lori, day 2 of our family reunion was fabulous. She reserved a spot at Hat Rock State Park and it was truly an idyllic setting. We had grills on which to cook our food, picnic tables to sit at, a lake to swim in, a fully stocked pond to fish in, and

thunderstorms, complete with lightning.

Just as we started throwing meat on the grill, the first drops came down. As we all watched the sky darken and started hearing thunder in the distance, we thought for sure our big plans would be a bust. And we New Yorkers are used to the rain. So, as my Western family headed for the park bathrooms and the safety of their cars, Dave and I manned the grill, knowing the lightning was much too far away to be an issue (we’ve had our fair share of thunderstorms in New York).

Braving the storm, Anika delivered freshly grilled dogs and burgers to those who wanted to eat in the car. My wise and prepared cousin Daron grabbed a tarp to cover everything on the tables. We are the Terry clan – we are stubborn beyond imagination and capable of outlasting any old storm. Taking the hint, the weather caved. In the distance, we could see the hint of blue skies, and before too long, the perfect day we’d hoped for arrived.

The kids explored the area, with many accompanying Lori on a hike to Hat Rock. My kids got the best treat of all…Daron taught them how to fish. Neither of our youngest kids had ever had the experience before, and they’ve never camped, either. We used to do that kind of thing, but the older kids really didn’t like it, so at some point it just fell by the wayside. Parker and Anika were enthralled, and Anika actually almost caught a fish.

The day was perfect…rain and all. It may have started out as a day of clouds but they were just hiding the silver lining.

After the day at the park, we all headed back to the hotel for the hotel’s evening reception (the bartender was flirty with my sister, despite her husband being nearby, but it did mean a lot of free refills on the wine we were drinking).

Taking the party up to my aunt’s room, many of the adults gathered without the kids (luckily, many of the kids are now 15-17, so we have built-in babysitters). We talked about everything from 50 Shades of Grey (which Tiana and Lori think is marvelous and Ann and I refuse to read) to our fondest memories of the loved ones we’d lost. The emotions ran from hilarious giggles to bursts of tears…

I am so happy to be with these people who have always been such a huge part of my life…and so sad at the same time knowing how quickly it will come to an end. I am wrestling more than ever with living so far away. Life seems so short sometimes, and I think I am very lucky to have such a tight-knit family.