My Momma, kids and I arrived home about an hour ago from a delightful little overnight getaway to Branson. (Side note…I LOVE Missouri~.) We were there for the specific purpose of celebrating one of my nephews who is doing incredibly hard work in his life. He was able to be away from his temporary home for a few days, it was a lovely reason for us to get together. Only about 1/2 of our big family was there, I look forward to the day we can all revisit at once. That seems to be a rarity with the busy-ness of every day life and I am thankful for every bit of time we have to join each other.
This morning was perfect for sitting on the porch, sipping coffee and soaking in the gratitude. The family we are is the real Brady Bunch..a living conglomerate of love. We know how to throw a good, old fashioned, fun party! There will be hugs and squeals, yummy food, laughter, tears, often music with dancing and always memory making. We know how to connect with each other and within generations.
It might be conversations over coffee in red rocking chairs and barstools on a glassed in porch with a beautiful view. There will be cooking together in the big, open kitchen and yelling at football players on tv for some. Several are likely gathered around a table eating a meal or playing Farkle, Dominoes or even Candy Land. The Air Hockey Table, pool table, Pac Man arcade game or Pinball machine make for excellent, friendly competition. Snuggling up anywhere and swapping secrets and hanging out in a hot tub until skin is itchy and cheeks are flushed….all excellent opportunities to bond. Wherever and however the connection happened this weekend, gratitude for this enveloping love overwhelmed me.
Chatter about sports, how healthy and fat the robins in Branson are, comfy pillows and beds, how awesome the hot tub is, where we will hike (and if we really want to hike), that the smell of our girls strawberry smelling hair is wonderful and even the teen boys sweat is somehow sweet to us, how much we’d love to come here again…all of this and more was discussed. We share beloved memories, our sorrows, our joys, our struggles and worries. We rejoice in our love for one another, cousin camaraderie, sweet remembrances, a glorious God who loves us, kindredness, peace, redemption and stages of life. We share wisdom and adventures in school, love, dating, and life experiences. We are simple, we are complex. We are real and back to the basics awesome. There is a sense of celebration, abundant love, vulnerability, and safety that coexists in our chaos. We are a unique gift never to be taken for granted.
A year or two ago, these occasions made me incredibly sad. I no longer had a husband who had a shared history with me and this family. Our Daddy was no longer physically present. I grieved, and grieved, and grieved some more. Something inside of me has healed though, and where there was only grief, there are now cherished memories. The shared story of my beautiful family (the one we are still writing) continues to heal my heart.
I thought about the words that describe our family (those who were there this weekend and those who weren’t)….ALL OF US….I was only going to write a few but my list kept growing. In our family, there is…
grace, joy, fun, redemption, respect, camaraderie, conversations, soulful connection, God, familiarity, safety, understanding, empathy, true connection, sacredness, board game playing, friendly competitiveness, creativity, sweetness, yummy food, celebration, music, dancing, laughter, tears, reflection, honesty, hope, truth, togetherness, reverence, delight, appreciation, gratitude, openness, trustworthiness, acceptance, tradition of love, late night delirium and early morning adventures, love, seeking, reaching, growing, stories, memories, teasing, playfulness, organized spontaneity, real emotion, gentleness, judgement free, wisdom, energy, learning, fondness and HOME.
THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME. So thankful.