1. As I said before I have been travelling. We left last Wednesday to fly back to WA to visit family. That's what the trip was all about...family. My grandma was in the hospital and not doing well, so they flew us in to be with her and hoped that she would perk up. She did. Like night and day difference. Even her surgeon commented on it before he did surgery last Friday. I am extremely close to her and she had been wanting to see me (and my family) desperately. The feeling was mutual.
The difference in her condition was incredible and I went from feeling like I was going to lose her any moment, so being able to spend three hours straight just talking with her and spending time sharing memories and old stories. I was able to witness her standing up during physical therapy--something she hadn't done in over 2 weeks. Everyone agreed we were the best medicine. Unfortunately we couldn't stay. That's the downside about being the one family member who DOESN'T live close. You always have to leave.
2. Family rocks. If you have a family where everyone is close, you get such a high from spending time together. Soaking up the love and sharing in the laughter. There is nothing like it. My whole family lives in the same area--except for me (and my brother who lives out here too). I grew up with my cousins who were like siblings to me. So we are all very close. When I come "home" it's a big deal. The only cousins my boys have right now (at least until the year is over when both my SIL will be having babies!), are my cousin's boys. We love getting them together because they have so much fun. They are all boys which makes is wacky and wild. One of my cousins is expecting..a girl. Boy will she be outnumbered in this wild bunch. I'm sure she'll survive and throw punches with the rest of them.
3. Discovering your ancestors is grounding. While we were out there, my aunt had all of us cousins look through our grandma's big family trunk. The old one. With our family history inside. Us girls (because we are predominately female in our generation) had a blast looking through old photos, old greeting cards, old diaries and old everything. We met our past. We howled when we discovered a long lost ancestor who had my cousin Nikki's son's HUGE ears. A lot of us were shocked when we discovered my cousin Aaron's son is the spitting image of our Great-Great Aunt as a baby. It was crazy how similar they looked. We yelled out cries of "va-va-voom" whenever we stumbled across relatives who looked like 1940's movie stars and came together to peer at the photo of our great-great-great-great grandmother named Jane who came from shores of Ireland as a young woman. The stories we wanted to know about why she did it and what she experienced in her life...my oh my. What would she have thought if she could jump forward and see all of us admiring her photo? It gives you a sense of purpose when you reflect back on where you came from. It grounds you, but also gives you a sense of the importance of future.
4. Birthday's with family are special. My boys have never been able to enjoy any kind of large celebration or gather for their birthday. We usually only have me, Love of My Life and maybe his parents for a dinner. Nothing like when I grew up and you got one day when the extended family gathered en masse to share their love for your place in the family. Well, it worked out that we were going to be back there for Little Britches' birthday. Needless to say everyone was more than willing to come together to share their love for him! It was great to see him surrounded by cousins he only sees MAYBE once every 2 years calling him by name and laughing and patting him. To see my cousins teasing him and my aunt and uncles squashing him with hugs. He enjoyed it and declared it the best birthday ever. Even my grandma. She had my aunt buy him a LEGO set for her and then my grandma gave it to him. It meant a lot to them both.
5. When you have a close family, it's hard to say goodbye. I left WA knowing there was a strong chance I was never going to see my grandma in this life again. That's hard. It's heartbreaking actually. So I just have to be thankful for the time I had this past week to make EXTRA memories to carry me through the days sure to be ahead. But you know, life comes at you fast. There is no guarantee you will have another minute, hour, day, week, month, or year with the ones you love. That's why TIME is so important. TIME spent with your family is the greatest gift you can give yourself and your children. I am who I am today because of the family time I had growing up. I want those memories for my children so I have to MAKE them happen. That was part of what this trip was about. It NEEDED to happen for everyone involved.
Make sure you cherish family and relationships. They are what will get you through the good days and the bad days. Love is a powerful thing and the love your share as a family is one of the potent of all.
Have a lovely weekend!