Time with family always seems to go by too quickly.

Much of my family traveled to Ottumwa Saturday evening to share Colin’s first communion with him Sunday morning. All day Saturday, as I was working on laundry and preparing food for the following day, I kept hearing, “I can’t wait for my cousins to get here.”

About 5:30 that evening, they started rolling in. Sure enough, the kids were soon running off together and having a good time while the adults sat and stood around the deck catching up.

It wasn’t long before we decided to head out to grab some dinner. As there were 14 of us in the group and it was about 7 p.m. on a Saturday, we decided to break into two groups — eight adults and six children. The three teenagers might disagree with that classification, but it made it simple enough.

After dinner, the cousins went for a quick swim, and then it was time for Colin to shower and go to bed. He had a big day ahead of him, after all.

But he didn’t like hearing that. “My cousins are here and you’re telling me I can’t play with them?!” my indignant 8-year-old tried to reason.

I just gave him my best mom look: “You just finished swimming for about an hour, you sat with each other at dinner and you were playing soccer outside before that. Now it’s time to shower and go to bed.”

I won. After all, I have about 28 years of experience on him when it comes to stubbornness. Just ask my dad.

The next morning was filled mostly with preparation. I got up first and put the baked beans and coffee on. My 13-year-old nephew was simply lounging around — Colin and his brother were on the PlayStation 4 — so he rode along with me to pick out some donuts. We prepared for church, Colin all dressed up in his five-piece suit with SpongeBob socks underneath.

The church service was beautiful, and seeing Colin and three of the other students I taught in religious ed receive their sacrament was quite special. Then it was time for pictures. Even more family had arrived by then, and Colin couldn’t finish with photos soon enough. That meant he could get out of his suit.

We followed up photos with a barbecue at our house. I was happy my prep was done Saturday. All I had to do was set up the side dishes and condiments for serving. Jason grilled away on the brand-new grill Logan had put together Friday night.

It was a success. It made me feel especially good when my dad’s oldest sister complimented to food — she’s the head chef of the family, after all.

All too soon, it was all over and family was back on the road. It sure didn’t last very long, but it’s always a good time when you’ve got good company. That’s what makes the special occasions special.

Tracy Goldizen is the Courier's magazine editor, leading production of "Ottumwa Life," the award-winning "Business People" and the Courier's other magazine offerings. She began work with the Courier on the copy desk.