I wonder if only children know that it is possible to feel lonely in a big family. One loud family gathering morphs into the next until a loved one says, “Remember when . . . ,” forgetting you weren’t at that particular party. Or, the house is so full of people eating and laughing that no one notices when you slip out the back door into the silence.
Hence, the importance of the blessing cup! In our childhood home, the blessing cup was a faded blue pottery goblet. Mama brought it home and, despite some groans and protests from her hubby and daughters, began the tradition.
Any pretty glass will do the job, but it feels extra special to use the same goblet every time. Just this year, my youngest sister, Allison, presented me with this one to keep close at hand in my home.
This month, we celebrated my niece Sally’s sweet 16th birthday party! My sister’s house was full of smiles and balloons, cake, ice cream, and a bit of chaos. . . until we sat down to perform the ritual of the blessing cup.
“You can go first,” my sister, Julie, offered. It never fails to surprise me how well she knows me even though we haven’t lived under the same roof for eighteen years. How caring for her to remember I have a qualm about drinking after people! 🙂
“Thank you,” I said. “I’d love to start.”
I reminded Sally that she was our family’s first baby. We all delighted in her—eight adults shouting “PEEK-A-BOO” at the dinner table every time little Sally moved the big napkin she was hiding behind. Then, I took a little sip of the sparkling apple juice, or “kid wine,” as the children call it.
Mama told her the story of how we took turns holding her when she was an infant, needing our “Sally therapy.” She made everything better from the very beginning of her life.
When my eldest son held the cup, he thanked Sally for growing out of the phase of showing him “annoying pictures” of cute football players. 🙂
Daddy said, “I never understood people showing off their grandkids’ pictures until you were born,” his face looked pained as the tears came, “and I experienced the depth of a grandfather’s love.”
Sally’s little sister cried, too, barely being able to choke out that Sally is her best friend.
Around the circle we went, with everyone present, young and old, blessing Sally with a memory, an encouraging word, a compliment—each of us giving love and taking a sip.
Lastly, Sally, teary-eyed on a cushion in the middle of our family huddle, thanked us. “These things are important to remember,” she said.
Yes, sweet Sally, always know that you are a great big part of this great big family. It is important to remember how LOVED you are!