Thursday, May 31, 2018
Feeling the Love of Family
We got back from our family reunion on Monday and I have been trying to play catch up around here. It was better than any of us could have imagined with lots of love, laughter, good food, time out on the lake, kayaking and family heirlooms shared. My parents had rented the house next door to their home for my crew and it was amazing and had room for all of us plus there was a hot tub that my kids, grandkids, brother Eric and his boys all enjoyed also. 💓
We finally met Josh's girlfriend Lauren and she is a total delight and fits right in with the rest of us. 😊 She is strong and determined, down to earth and so much fun. I can totally see why our Josh loves her so much. Speaking of which, the home they are buying is now officially theirs and the are busy picking out paint colors for the walls. Yay!
Our grandboys and our nephews, who are all 14 years old and younger, played really well together and created some new "cousin bonds" that will last the rest of their lives. My sister in law Christie brought over some bubble gloves and had the whole crew out playing with them on the front lawn. Christie is an amazing mommy and auntie who is always thinking of fun things to do with the kids. Everyone should have a Christie in their lives.
It was so nice to spend time with both my brothers and my parents, and see my cousin Jeremy get to know the whole crew also. One of the highlights of our time there was watching the joy on my father's face as he looked out from his porch down at the dock where lots of the family was gathered playing in the water and on the floaties and kayaks. I asked him if he could have ever imagined that moment when they first built their home and he said no. The pride and joy in his eyes and the smile on his face at 80 years old seeing his legacy and family all together nearly brought me to tears. It is one of those moments in time that I will always cherish.
My parents blessed us with a night out at the Bigfork Playhouse for a musical review of the 80's. Josh, Lauren, Jeff, Cade (my oldest nephew) and I all went to it. It was a night full of music, trivia with audience participation, laughter and good music. It amazed me that my nephew knew so many of the lyrics to the songs! He also shared some deep personal stuff with us and I felt honored that he trusted us so much to do so. I love both he and his brother so very much and I want them to know that Uncle Jeff and I will always be here for them.
One of the activities that my parents had us do while we were there was for all of us to go through the house and pick out things that we wanted after they were gone. At first we were all a bit uncomfortable with it but Mom explained that it would make it easier on them and on all of us later. Each of their children, adult grandchildren and my cousin took turns picking things out. It was amazing to see what meant the most to everyone. Some of the things have great monetary value, but most were sentimental items and those were the things that were picked out first. My mother had us go through her quilts and pick which ones we wanted also. Some of them came home with us now and some will come later since she still needs to finish them or she is still enjoying them. My parents sent some of the other things home with us now and we will be getting the rest of the the items later. One of the things that evoked a lot of laughter was when we opened a box that had my old majorette uniforms in it. My boys could not believe that I fit in that tiny little sequined bodysuit. 😁 I could not believe Mom had kept it! It was in a box full of family heirlooms including both my mother and my Uncle Dave's baby book along with their baby shoes. That box came home with me along with Grandma's teacup collection. We asked Jeremy if he wanted his father's baby book, but he told me to keep it which is totally understandable given their relationship. My cousin was given an antique family clock that belonged to our Grandpop and we were all very happy about that since he and his brother are the last of the Ricker line of men in our family.
As for how I fared health wise, I did have several flares while there due to overdoing it and eating way too much rich and delicious foods. I am still flaring (but I expected and planned for it) and I know it will take some time to get back to my "normal". My entire family was amazing though and really watched out for me telling me to relax and pitching in when they could see me fading. My mother and I had a talk about my health and we can trace symptoms and other things back to my childhood. She also has been researching some things and is sending me information on what she has found that might be able to help me.
I think all of us came away from our family reunion with a deeper love and stronger bonds than ever before. Lauren even mentioned to Josh that she felt like our family had accepted her and made her one of us. My mother had everyone make quilt squares where she had us draw on them with something that represented us, our family or our time there. She is making a memory quilt using those along with pictures from our time there and I am sure that it will be a much treasured piece of our family history. While Lauren was making her square, I told her that it was official, she was going in the family quilt and that made her part of the family already. She and Josh are planning on getting married in the future. I could not even hope for a better future wife for our Josh...she is simply lovely inside and out!
Upon leaving to come home, we were all looking forward to another family reunion in the future. We realize that our time together is precious and with my parents aging, that opportunity to all be together is limited in how many more years we may have to do this before they are gone. As our family continues to grow, I pray that we have many more opportunities to gather together and enjoy each other's company, share good food, lots of laughter and love. Family is the greatest treasure and blessing in our lives and fills my love tank to overflowing.