I do not expect you to understand this tradition the way I have grown to. Growing up, I didn't realize the good thing we had going. I don't think I was able to grasp that this was not normal. Not everyone gets to do this every year.
Almost 30 years ago my parents and two other couples decided to go to the lake for the weekend and we have been getting together for the last weekend of July ever since. Those three couples had babies and traditions began to take form. As the babies grew up, they became friends. The type of friends that go the entire year without seeing or talking to each other and pick back up where the year before left off. The friends grew up and went to camp, traveled abroad, went to college... but that one little weekend held sacred to us. Girlfriends and boyfriends came and went but were not allowed until there was jewelry involved. The friends became adults and are now in college, getting jobs, getting married, having babies, and still keeping in touch. The spouses have become friends and fit right in with the rest of us; almost as if they have been there from the start. Now the babies are growing up and gaining the strange yearly friendship that is so familiar to their parents.
Our parents started with 6 adults and 5 tiny kids. There are now 6 grandparents, 8 original kids, 7 spouses, and 11 grand kids under the age of 6. While work demands, distance, and births of children have tried to put an end to our efforts, the tradition continues. To date, I have missed 2 summers: one to study abroad and the other to have a baby. It will take my family two plane rides, a rental car, and a lot of patience but we don't want to miss this.
We take our traditions almost too seriously. The same food sits on the counter tops each year, and if an absence is discovered there are questions to be answered. The furniture has been moved upon arrival because it was not in the same place as the year before. The activities have held the same time slots with a few edits due to ages of children, but always ending with a huge familiar meal and a big group photo shoot.
I am tempted to write an entire play-by-play of how the weekend goes, from Friday morning to Sunday lunch, (complete with how often I visit the plate of homemade sugar cookies with cream cheese icing).... but I know you won't understand. I would have to write a 4 page article for Southern Living complete with photos of the food, and the matriarchs crowded in the kitchen with their white wine, margaritas and grand babies. A photo of the girls gabbing in the kitchen while sitting on top of the countless coolers, while the men-folk are posed on the golf course, laughing about some inside joke they shared on the 7th hole. All sunburned from a day outside and the lovely effects of the hot Texas sun.
For fear of rambling I will "bring it home".
I know this is a rare part of my life and I plan to hang on to it as best I can.