April 11, 2012

Family

I know that I've said it many, many times in this space.  And, I'll say it again. I am utterly overwhelmed at the way that we have been blessed with the gift of family.  Immediate, extended, in-laws, and out-laws, we are exceedingly blessed.

The month of March worked extremely hard to set itself up as the favorite month of 2012.  While the remaining 9 months of the year are bound to hold lots of excitement, March will be a tough act to follow.  For all throughout March, we ate and drank and inhaled and exhaled family.  Our weeks were book-ended with new sets of arms to hug, new stories to tell, and new memories to make.

March entered, bringing with it my big brother and his wife. We reveled in the pizza-making, the story-telling, the card-playing, the being.  My brother was my very first best friend, so it is a gift, indeed, to share this married-in-grad-school-without-kids stage of life with him.  We talked and laughed and felt no shame at calling it a night at a measly 10:30pm.  (Our younger selves would be incredulous.)

The next weekend signaled the beginning of SisterWeekend2012. Words upon words have already been spilled over that weekend.  What a wonderful, wonderful time it was.

The weekend that followed found us venturing back to Cole's hometown to drink afresh that sweet 9-month-old niece smell.  The weather was absolutely perfect, and sometime on Sunday afternoon, time stood still.  The sun was out, there was baseball on, sweet spring air wafted through the house, and we were together. All 8 of us.  And, for a moment, all was right with the world.  If only moments like that were catch-able, bottle-able, and sell-able.  I'd be a millionaire. Weekends like that make my heart beat with anticipation to return there, make a home there, and have weekly Sunday barbecues after church there.
March made its grand exit with a visit from my parents. My parents: fountains of knowledge, wisdom, generosity, love, and a fierce competitive streak.  Seriously.  Among 3 hour lunch dates, homemade pizza nights, shopping trips, and eye exams, we had the grandest of times.  They mercilessly cleaned our clocks at nearly every card game we played, and left us with an uncontrollable excitement for the next time we'll be together.

In typical fashion, I wasn't ready for the fun to end, simply because the month of March did.  So, this second week in April came carrying my mother-in-law. I don't care what you say about mothers-in-law, my mother-in-law is totally awesomer than your mother-in-law. (That is, unless you happen to be Carrie or Kelly Marie, duh. In that case, we'll just call it a draw.) She showed up Monday night - just in time to talk politics, catch up on family goings-on, and lose at Settlers.  Then, Tuesday, I came home from work to find candles lit about the house, the kitchen cleaned, and dinner on the stove.  On a weeknight, there are few gifts greater than that.  We spent our last evening together talking and playing endless games of Settlers.  Our time with her was too short, but oh-so-sweet.

March was a treasure that has stretched into April.  It's been the perfect medicine to keep homesickness at bay and to refresh the heart. What outrageous Grace.



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