Sunday, July 14, 2013

On Vacation And Growing And My People

Home now, from a week with my family on our annual beach vacation. So many things were different this year, and not the least of the different stuff was the obvious growth and changes. All of us are growing up. And older.

Our youngest family member, Levi, is now 10 years old, and he is clever and quick-witted and smart and altogether adorable. "Double digits", as his dad said, and his contributions to the dialogue and the jokes and the conversation this time edged closer than ever to the grown-up world he'll inhabit completely in no time at all.

There is much to say, and I think I might take my time and write about it bit by bit (inspired by my friend Brandee, who continues to delight with the blow-by-blow of her most recent family vacation).

But I do not excel at delayed gratification, and so there is this little bit of shared joy.

Because there is so much joy.

Sarah and Levi; photo bomb,
First, my eldest daughter, who has made her home in Savannah, drove 40 minutes each way to see us, every. single. night. She works at 7:30AM and even so, she made the drive to be with her family. I had not even imagined she would do such a thing, such a hard, demanding, and gas-guzzling thing. And yet, she did; and I thought that if perhaps we have instilled a love and appreciation for family that would prompt her to sacrifice so much time, energy and gasoline to be with those that have loved her all along - well, then, we must have done a good thing.

Chris and Tony
Secondly, I met a new family member today; Tony's nephew, of whom I have heard but never seen. He lives in Charleston, and so we arranged to meet today as we made our way back to Virginia. A shared meal at a noisy Cracker Barrel led to what feels like another strong and powerful connection. There's blood there, between Tony and his family; there's some shared history. There's a strong resemblance to his mom, whom I have met. And mostly, there's just some underlying point of connection that, more and more, I find strongest in those that share some part of my family tree.

I think tonight of my Uncle Dave and my cousins Joey and Jimmy and Garth and Andrew and George; of Denise and Jenna and Markus and my brother-in-law Donnie and my Uncle Graham and Aunt Barbara and Zack and of the hundreds of others who are scattered all over the continent. Of Tony's sister and nephew and aunts and uncles and the photos and memories and moments that provide the pinpricks of recognition, as thin as they may be.

I'm not sure that a strong, almost nostalgic value of family is absent among the young; but I can't say that I have ever felt such a passionate fondness for  those whose name and bloodlines I share as I do now. The kids grow and root themselves in those of us who cheer them on, as they dig into the richness of the lives they are creating around their passion and desires and those that they have come to love.

And we stand around them, holding the memories in our hands and hearts, amazed at the wonder we behold.

My people.

Life is so very good, so rich and full. God reveals himself in the gratitude, and the door opens to possibilities that seem downright endless.

I am grateful.

No comments: