Bits of paper and ribbons. A Lego here and there. Books. A love note from one sister to another. A rogue crystal glass with a drop of smoky bourbon left. As I clean up the remnants of another family Christmas celebration, a wave of emotion washes over me. How lucky, how truly blessed Eric and I are to have our beautiful family here with us. I think of my husband with tenderness, with love. I think of my daughters with pride and joy. As different as Magdalen and Natalie and Heather are, their genuine admiration and respect for one another is as deep as the roots of the ancient live oaks that protect our farm. They will always have each other. We will always have each other. But wait! There is more…
Our family has expanded to include new sons. The joy of knowing that two of our daughters are cherished by–and cherish–two fine men astonishes me a bit, and my husband a bit more. In a flurry of lace and promises, we gained sons. I sleep a little better, and I laugh a little more deeply these days. Eric has a new role as a father to males! They help him with projects and listen to his advice and his stories. They laugh together and tease each other. They discuss all the world’s problems, and could probably solve most of them, given a long enough afternoon. While Phillip and Ryan came to our family from two different worlds, what brings them to ours is their shared value of family, of wanting to be good husbands and fathers and sons. They are both blessed with strength of character, humility, and humor. My daughters have chosen well.
My grandson Jacob’s life has been immeasurably stabilized and enriched by both his daddy and uncle. The men in our family are teaching him what it means to be a man and live with honor. They show him that the world is safe and at the same time, full of unexpected adventures. They talk to him, hug him, play soccer with him, and make him eat all his dinner—even the Brussels sprouts. They remind him to say thank you and respect his momma. And his Aunt Natalie? She introduces him to the magical universe of reading. She listens to his heart, keeps his secrets and encourages him to think. Lucky boy!
And then there is the newest tiny blessing, the gift of Ayla. So filled with innocence and promise. So perfect! A miracle.
As I pick up the pieces of a happy day, I think that family is the glue that holds us all together and makes everything meaningful. It’s messy and noisy and chaotic and creative. It’s ever-changing. It’s full of tears and hopes and prayers and hard work and commitment. It’s full of unspeakable joy and laughter! It doesn’t get any better.