Saturday, July 31, 2010

Family Matters

Last summer we started a tradition. To celebrate my parents' 60th wedding anniversary, as many of my family members who could gathered at a lovely inn at Branson, MO.

We didn't go for the shows or to cruise the strip in bumper to bumper traffic. Instead we settled along Lake Taneycomo, choosing the more sedate old downtown and the new Landing to spend our time.

This year we repeated the experience, staying in the same inn and sitting in wicker chairs and rockers on the wrap-around porch. It was very hot, very humid.....but that didn't deter us from the long talks that are the staple of our family.

It was definitely a time for togetherness, but there were also moments devoted to solitude. In the coolness of the mornings, I walked along the boardwalk that ran beside the lake. The mist rose from the water like a silent genie, hovering just above its surface as ducks glided smoothly along its glassy top. Only a handful of people shared my space: joggers and fellow wanderers also seeking the refuge of the quiet morning. It was so nice to be out before both the heat of the day and the throngs of people who inevitably come to share such a beautiful place. Leaning over the railing and watching the day begin was captivating: the definition of peace.....the porthole for contentment.

And the days were filled with their charm, too. My sister drummed up a group of us and brought in so much business to the local dollar store that the clerk rewarded us with free hats!
We perused the local shops, bought trinkets to take back home and ate a LOT of food!

One afternoon we loaded up and headed to Table Rock Lake to spend a few hours at my cousin's house. He took us on a grand tour of the lake with my brother-in-law as co-pilot, my brother and I at the stern and my parents tucked comfortably behind the driver's seat.

Twenty of us took seats on the boat dock, in lounge chairs on the back deck or inside the house to talk about the days of the past and what lies ahead. One niece brought a friend while another inducted her fiancee to our extended family vacation. That's one of the many things I love about us: everyone is welcome.....everyone belongs.

Many people don't understand how our family gets along and why we so enjoy being together.

To me it's simple. We truly love each other.

We are individuals, part of one whole; intertwined with history and a genuine like for one another. I would pick them to be with even if we weren't related. We are connected, not just through blood but through ideas and thoughts, likes and friendship. They are the thread of my very existence, woven into who I am and where I come from.
It's a lovely tradition, this getting together. And no matter where we are, whether home or on the road, we are family. I wouldn't change that for the world.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A 21st

Today my daughter turns 21. Twenty-one. How did the years pass so swiftly?

It surely wasn't that long ago when I held her, as a new baby, in my arms for the first time. Yet here is proof in the beautiful young woman who stands before me.

Gone are the days of picture-making as she sits at her little school desk, pen gripped firmly in her left hand. Disney tunes no longer resonate from her room as she twirls in her pretty sundresses and sings along. Barbies are tucked away in plastic containers and fluffy stuffed animals gather dust from inattention.

It is as it should be. Another autumn is around the corner and a college dorm awaits. I'm excited for her as she begins yet another part of her journey. But I'll miss her...

For now, on this July day, I'll pretend she's mine forever as I tuck the memories close to my heart and savor each moment we share.
Twenty-one. Indeed, they've passed so quickly.

Happy Birthday, my beautiful girl. I Love You!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset...

This was the sky that greeted me yesterday morning. I was lying in bed, just before my alarm went off, and woke suddenly to see a orange glow outside my bedroom window. Since the sun and I get ready for the day at the same time, I had to snap this quickly before I headed for the shower.

By evening, the calm of the day turned stormy as clouds built to the north and south of us. Still, their beauty was magnificent, and these were the images left to me at the end of the day.

Though the only thing we got from the storms was distant thunder and lightning, they left behind calling cards that punctuated perfectly this golden July day.