Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Reflections from Our Family Weekend
As I sit here this morning in my 3 season "office", I have time to reflect on this past weekend when we had my parents here with us and the fun as well as some rather startling realizations. I wish I had captured some of the moments in pictures, but neither my mother or I thought to do so until everyone had left. I guess that was not a bad thing all together since we were all so engaged with one another and just enjoying some wonderful family time and building more memories. :)
My generous parents arrived on Friday afternoon bearing gifts as they always do. They brought over my favorite recliner (this thing so so soft and cuddly), wine from a quaint little vineyard near them that has the best wine, homemade raspberry syrup and chocolate candy along with jammies and swim suit sets for the grandkids. Mom also had earrings for Heather, Rachel and I and she gave me 2 of her gorgeous find jewelry rings...tourmaline set in gold and an opal ring with a brilliant emerald on the side to set it off. The opal ring is one that I remember my father buying for her when I was a child and I fell in love with it then and hoped to inherit it one day. My mom is giving us kids the jewelry now since she does not wear it anymore. Today I have another opal ring on that she and my father bought for me on one of their trips to the Caribbean. She already had my DIL Heather pick out a piece of jewelry from her rather vast collection and she is having Rachel do the same on her next trip over. :) It just touches my heart that my mother did this for me and the girls and I am sure she has done something similar for my sweet sister-in-law Christie. I learned from my mother's wonderful example that when your children marry, their spouses become your kids too and are not just so and so's wife or husband. This also means that when your grandkids marry, that their spouses become your grandkids. ;) What a beautiful way to grow your family and everyone feels totally secure and loved because they are.
Soon after we got my parents unpacked, Chris, Heather and the grandboys arrived. :) The look of delight on my parents faces, despite them being tired and Mom still being sick with a bad cold said it all. :) My grandchildren see their great grandparents (from both sides of the family) multiple times a year and have built great relationships with them. Jaysn and Rachel got here shortly after that and more hugs and kisses and shear delight was shared. We had a great time getting caught up with each other in spite of 2 little busy guys who needed lots of attention. ;) My dad was particularly thrilled when Isaiah climbed up into his lap to visit.
Saturday evening everyone came over again for a BBQ and my cousin Jeremy and his dog Mya joined us. :) I can see a lot of our grandfather, my mother's father, in my cousin Jeremy. We have gotten so close since he moved up here last year and I am so glad that my parents and he are having the chance to get to know each other better also. He came bearing gifts for the family and especially for the little guys...he loves those boys and is always looking for things that they would enjoy playing with or using to create new "masterpieces". :) He stayed for awhile after the rest of the family had to leave so that he could have some quieter visiting time also. ;)
Sunday afternoon we joined my husband's parents at a restaurant for lunch. Jeff and I gave our moms their Mother's day cards early since this was the only time we would all be together. I'm so glad we did because it made it all the more special. :) Our parents have become great friends over the years and they love being able to spend time together so I am so glad they were able to get together this time. As I looked around the table I realized that it had been 32 years since Jeff and I first started dating and 31 years ago that our parents first met and became good friends. It also hit me that all of us at the table had our own aches and pains that come with age and I almost burst out laughing because Jeff and I are now also "old". ;) When we were leaving the restaurant, my father helped my MIL to the car, even helping buckle her in (she is about 6 years older than he is) and it hit me how much our parents have slowed down and how difficult even walking can be for them at times. It was a bittersweet moment for me because my mother is still in great shape and usually has more energy than I do, but the illnesses, strokes and age have taken a heavy toll on the other 3 of our parents. Having almost lost 2 of them within the past 4 years made this moment all the more special because we still have them with us and that is a huge blessing and gift and not something I take for granted.
After a short but wonderful visit, my parents were off early Monday morning to go and spend a few days on Orcas Island before going to spend next weekend with my baby brother and his family. We loved having them here and also enjoyed that it was not a "go, go, go" visit. We were able to spend lots of time relaxing and visiting. My father told us some stories from his childhood that I had never heard before and I really enjoyed getting to know more about his growing up years. He does not speak of it that often except for the Summers that he and his brothers would spend at his aunt and uncle's farm helping out. I have noticed that my MIL is also sharing more stories with me about her childhood lately and I am enjoying that too. :) I think that sharing those memories for them is a gift that they give us, whether they see it as such or not. I sure see and appreciate it though.
Having recently lost several people that we love and seeing the huge toll and holes that it has left in their families and friends, I am reminded once again that every day we have with our loved ones is a gift. We need to make the time to spend together, call those that we love and tell them so, end every visit with an I love you and make sure that they know just how precious and special they are to us.
Jeff and I need to figure out a time this Fall to go and visit my parents and my brother again over at their place so we can put in for vacation time at his work. We need to build even more memories. :)