What is Really Important

I’ve been a bit absent over the last week or two. Absent here and in social media.

I have been spending a lot of time with family. Not just my kids and husband, but grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.

We were delivered some tough news. The kind of news that makes you reflect and make time for what is important. For me that is family.


My grandparents are nearing their 61st wedding anniversary. They had 13 children, they lost one shortly after his birth. Those 12 children married and now they have 11 son/daughter in-laws. Then those kids had kids and now they have 38 grandchildren. Then those grandchildren got married, adding 12 more to the family. Then those grandchildren had kids, adding 20 great grandchildren to the family.

If you do the math 2+60= 96. That is right folks, two people got married and 60 years later there are 96 of us!!


And we are not the kind of family who up and moved away and hardly see each other. No, we are the kind of family that went to church together and gathered every Sunday at my grandma’s for brunch. We are the kind of family that camps together–reaching numbers in the 200’s. Yes, 200 family members gathered around a fire. We are the kind of family that spent every day of summer swimming at grandma and grandpa’s.


Because if there was anything my grandparents ever wanted anyone of us to know, it was family comes first. Always.

They were the grandparents that always had room for one more. One more in their house, in the chair, in the pool, in the car, in the camper, in their hearts. They have always had an open door and welcomed us into their home. They have been the foundation on which my life has been built on. They have been our biggest cheerleaders–making time for sporting events, graduations, plays, etc.




This Christmas we decided to put together an album. I gathered up some Project Life supplies and gave all of my family members a mission: gather photos and come to my house. Together we filled the pages with pictures and memories. Things my grandparents taught us, funny stories, fond memories.


While I have been absent this week, I have been doing two things. I have been working on this album. Pouring over pictures with my family, sharing memories, laughing and reflecting on all that is good. The second, spending time with family.


Last night we gave them that album. That album that documents all 96 of us. It felt amazing to hand them the story they had written.


  • MyLoveforWords

    That was a beautiful gift you created for your grandparents. I’m sorry to hear you’ve received some bad news. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    • http://www.balancinghome.com Megan Bray

      Thank you. My grandpa was diagnosed with cancer–stage 4. He is dying and it is very very hard to watch and very hard to face. We need all the prayers we can get.

  • gigi

    Sometimes the best gifts in life are enjoyed for a while and then forgotten. It’s so awesome that you not only recognize the gift you were given, but celebrate it every day!

    • http://www.balancinghome.com Megan Bray

      You too mom. I love you so much.

  • Elisha

    Love this post in so many ways! Made me tear up! Love you!

    • http://www.balancinghome.com Megan Bray

      Love you too! I’m so glad you got to come back for Christmas. I’m glad you got to page through the book yourself and give grandpa a hug and be with us all during such a trying time.

  • Julie Bigley

    What an amazing gift. It’s amazing how two people falling in love can make such a huge ripple of love for generations. Thinking of you guys during such a tough time.

    • http://www.balancinghome.com Megan Bray

      So well said Julie. One giant ripple of love.

  • Shelby Chubb

    That is just fantastic! Such a large, loving family. Makes me miss my family, I come from a big one as well. It’s hard to explain to people who grow up in the nuclear family situation what it’s like to have literally 100s of relatives that you know and care about. I moved away from my hometown when I went to college and have never moved back, but most of my family stayed. Family is the thing that I regret the most about being such a wanderlust and moving/traveling all the time.

    • http://www.balancinghome.com Megan Bray

      Haha–Shelby, I think I was brainwashed to live in my hometown for the rest of my life ;). It is a pretty incredible thing to be a part of, no doubt. Watching my family be there for my grandparents and this tenderness and love and soft side, especially my uncles as they care for their dying dad has been very touching. The whole thing just sucks and it hurts and I just don’t have words to say how much I love them or how big their impact has been and will be on my life.

  • JaneEllen

    This is so wonderful, in days when family members choose to be mad and not speak to each other for years. Seeing your photos of your family and reading the story made me tear up also.
    My Mother was from a big family (2 brothers and 4 sisters) and when we lived in Cleveland, OH where I was born I remember so many wonderful times with all of them, cousins, aunts, uncles, my Grandmother.
    I can only imagine how hard it must have been for my Mother to have to leave them all when we moved to Tucson, AZ for my brother’s health. He had asthma really bad so we had to leave Cleveland.
    I am so lucky as my parents were great for taking pictures all the time so I have photos of all those family get togethers, it was truly wonderful to feel and know I was a part of all those people. When I get kinda melancholy I take out the wonderful albums my Mother put together of it all. Some of the people I don’t remember as I was 10 when we left Cleveland. Being a part of a family like that was so wonderful.
    It’s go great you appreciate all your family and enjoy them. Just think what incredible memories your kids will have when they grow up and add to the numbers. Bless your heart for caring and for doing that incredible project.
    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you a happy healthy New Year

    • http://www.balancinghome.com Megan Bray

      That was probably very difficult for you mother, but when it comes to our children–there isn’t much we wouldn’t do! I think it is really cool that you still feel that family bond and that the album can still bring you joy.

  • Nikki Tatum Haynes

    That is so awesome! Love the album. I knew your family was big but didn’t realize it was that big!! I think its so nice you all can see each other and spend time together especially during this time!