October has been all about resourcefulness here at TWE, and our hope is that that you’ve taken some time to consider what makes you happy and to stop and smell the roses. We’re curious – Has family found its way to your reflections?
For both Mary Kay Kreienberg and Louise Fletcher, family is everything. Growing up as sisters in a family with 7 siblings all together, Mary Kay and Lou were always taught to put family first. Since they are both avid TWE readers, we sat down with them to learn exactly why family means so much in their lives.
What matters most to you when it comes to family?
When it comes to family, each member should feel valued and appreciated, according to Mary Kay.
“In my list of priorities in life, my family is always first in my mind,” Mary Kay said. “My family’s well-being is most important to me.”
She shows this through sending her children spontaneous good morning texts or surprising them with a phone call. There are few things better than receiving a positive message from your mom, especially when you’re least expecting it. Her family members reciprocate the feelings of value by showering her with gifts, card, hugs, love, and taking her on impromptu lunch dates. Family is a priority to all of Mary Kay’s family.
When asked the same question, Lou hoped “that the younger generation realizes how important family is.”
Coming from a pup to an alpha like you, Lou, we do know how important family is – mainly because of lessons from people like yourself!
Lou, now the matriarch of the family, makes it a point to gather the family at any and all times. She often meets her sisters and her nieces for lunch, and she always makes sure the whole family comes together for the holidays.
Lou is a lot like her late mother Philomena, who always put family above everything else. When Lou and Mary Kay were younger, they would care for their grandparents and assist their mother with chores around the house. It didn’t matter their age or the task, everyone in the family would put in work.
What are some of your favorite family traditions?
For Mary Kay, some of her favorite family traditions include gathering the family around the kitchen table for Christmas morning breakfast. The Christmas plates are set, egg casserole cooks in the oven, and bacon sizzles on the stove.
Christmas morning breakfast conversation has evolved over the years, but the love has never changed. The meal serves as a spot for the family to reunite. With one child living in Chicago and another off at school, the kitchen table is one of the few spots the family can sit down and be a family together again.
“We attend Christmas Eve mass together! Haven’t missed one in 22 years,” Mary Kay said.
The holiday season also brings the sisters and their extended families together each year. Lou called it “a very special tradition!”
Mary Kay, Lou, and the rest of their siblings always get together to celebrate birthdays. Their father would always take photographs at every birthday gathering and make a collage commemorating the occasion. As time goes on, it has proven to be more difficult to gather the family for birthdays, as the nieces and nephews have moved to different cities or went away for college. However, those still living in town always try to get together and make each other feel special for turning another year.
How does your family take time to “smell the roses”?
A few years ago, Lou, Mary Kay, and the rest of the siblings planned a family reunion in Upstate New York. Since then, the family has gathered in the area every summer to catch up, relax, and spend time with one another.
When it comes to Mary Kay’s immediate family, conversations at the dinner table is one way they “smells the roses.” Whether a simple home-cooked meal or a night out at a restaurant, taking the time to eat together is priceless. Dining with family keeps everyone up-to-date with important things happening in each others lives – the perfect setting for a catch-up.
What activities do you do with your family every day? Week? Month? Year?
“We used to go to church together each week before the children went to college,” said Mary Kay. “Because the children are now grown, we try and take a family vacation together each year.”
This past summer, Mary Kay gathered the family and drove to Lake Placid for the Fourth of July. It was a place they had never visited before, and they look forward to going back someday.
For Lou, simply calling each family member at least once a week is the best way to combat long-distance relationships.
Family is about taking time to reflect on our traditions, spend time with one another, and never forget the true meaning of love. Do you have similar stories to Mary Kay and Lou? How does your family take time to smell the roses? Share your story with us!
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Whether you are an avid TWE reader or first time downloader, a member of the iGeneration or on the brink of retirement, my hope is that through this eBook you can discover what matters most to you in life and and time to appreciate it all.