In my humble opinion, family is either one of the absolute best or worst parts of life, depending on who you are stuck with. Fortunately for us, we have two of the most amazing families ever. Charlie's family is nothing if not interesting and my family...how would one describe my family??? Assuming that you have seen the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", you may get a sense of what kind of family mine is. Everyone is in everyone's business, extended cousins-who most families never know-are just as much a part of our family as our siblings, no one ever moves away, grandmas cook, kids are everywhere, everyone knows embarrassing stories about everyone and doesn't mind sharing them, and everyone loves everyone. The difference is we are the southern version.... So instead of the Greek accent and words flipping through the conversation, we add extra syllables to all words and throw around southern vernacular that outsiders scratch their heads at. (Words like "yonder", and phrases like, "Daddy went over to the holler for the afternoon" are extremely common.)
All that being said, we made a trip home to visit this wonderful, unique family of mine for the weekend and to celebrate our first baby shower. What a weekend it was!
Truthfully, I have a large family, so had there been a room full of family members alone, the shower would have been as average as anyone else's with 15 or so people there, and I would have been thrilled. I realize that I have lived in Delaware for more than 3 years now and should expect some of those non-family ties that were so strong before I moved to have weakened. I honestly didn't expect a crowd, but I was so excited to see everyone who came. Most of them, if not all of them, are people who went to church with my family for my entire life. I grew up under the supervision of these women, all of them, in some way my teachers, mentors, Sunday School teachers, or friends. So much has happened in the 3 1/2 years since I moved to Delaware, though, and God has moved most of these women out of the "old circle" and into new arenas where they rarely, if ever, see one another. I had such a fantastic time talking to them and catching up, and I know they enjoyed catching up with one another as well. I told mom after the shower was over that I am pretty sure that's what heaven will be like. All the people we know and love, catching up and so excited to be able to share our lives with one another again.
Almost every trip to Virginia includes some kind of amazing opportunity that we would never get to experience in Delaware. My husband is always amazed at these new experiences. Before we left, we went to visit my grandparents. Over the past year or so, my Pappaw has taken up a new hobby...he decided he wanted to build himself a cabin in the mountain behind his house. It took quite a bit of coercing to talk Pappaw into taking us to see it (complete sarcasm--I mentioned it and he practically lept out of his chair to grab the keys to his truck). He chopped down the trees and built the cozy little one-room cabin himself. The little structure is solid and warm and overlooks a "holler". Charlie was enthralled to say the least. The structure is habitable for their use, complete with limited electricity due to a back-up generator, running water (piped straight from the fresh mountain spring), and outhouse - also handbuilt by Pappaw. (I promise to post pictures as soon as my husband uploads them to a computer that I have access to!)
The trip was just another reminder that although I would never consider any of my connections in Virginia to be financially wealthy, we are certainly rich in life experience and love, through our connections with these people--and that's something I wouldn't trade for the world!