I love my family.
They're nuts, each in their own way, but they are my nuts and I am theirs, and I can't imagine life without them in it.
The graphic accompanying this post is the masterwork of my husband, who added family members as they arrived for this past year's Thanksgiving holiday until we had a full chalkboard. If you were sitting here beside me, I could identify for you each member of the four generations of our brood represented there. Including the three four-legged members.
Several of us were together again this past weekend, on the occasion of my grand-girl's 5th birthday.
Insert myriad clichés here, accompanied by a few pained heavy sighs.
It's been a blink of an eye.
My mother joined us for the trip to Virginia and a lovely time was had by all. My daughter worked her magic, yet again. The kid's party was held at one of those Pump It Up bouncy house nirvana facilities, with Henley's bestest buds in attendance. The invites said, "no gifts, please," which was genius, really. There was a ballerina theme, accentuated by the made from scratch tutu inspired three tiered strawberry cake with layers of gradated pink tinted icing like so much tulle, that was almost...almost...too pretty to eat.
From there, we headed back to their house for the family party. And boy...does this child have a lot of family! My son-in-law's kin all hail from the area and were represented in full - Henley's got four generations going on that side of the equation, too, believe it or not. Great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins once removed...they were all present and accounted for.
At this party, there were gifts.
MOUNTAINS of them.
Even so, even after opening piles and piles of dolls and games and gizmos, when she opened the Moana doll and boat we'd deliberated over forever and a day, her face lit up and she exclaimed, "I just can't thank you enough for this!" all grown up and sincere.
It would not surprise me one little bit to learn that today, all of two days later, the pig, rooster, and oar are lost, and her skirt is missing, and the boat looks like maybe it survived a battle at sea, but still. In that moment, my heart leaped a leap and a tiny (annoying) voice in my head squealed, "She likes it! She really likes it!"
SO MANY TOYS.
Do you want to hear something funny? I actually caught myself regaling someone there with a story. "Back in my day, we had one doll and were happy to have it! We loved it and took care of it and it meant something!" And then I gagged a little, apologized, and slunk sheepishly away.
I am such a small human sometimes.
But even so, I am big enough to know how blessed I am by the two grand-babies who grace my life and fill my world with more love than I ever dreamed possible.
They are my joy, and my reason.
I adore them, without measure or condition, utterly and completely.
They make the world I inhabit infinitely better, just for being in it.
And they're pretty darn cute, too.
*Title quote by Louisa May Alcott, in honor of her 184th birthday.