31 Days: Family

I didn’t get much sleep last night; I’m guessing maybe two hours. We had a house full of JMU students and decided that the safest bet was to cede the entire place to them and leave the premises. Our girls could sleep in our bed.

We walked next door and availed ourselves of my mother-in-law’s guest bedroom, abandoning the comfort of our home to a wild pack of 20-something college students.

Who were watching “The Land Before Time” on Netflix when we left. Kids these days. Sigh.

Hard partiers.

(Great kids, seriously.)

It was a good idea in theory, sleeping next door – but in practice, it didn’t work. It was too quiet, for one; I’m used to a house the creaks and groans with human and structural sounds all night long. I like the slightly noisy ceiling fan and the peculiar squeaks of our bed.

And I was stressed, because I knew my husband was not exceedingly fond of this idea. He’d rather have been home in his own bed, with the kids sprawled out on the couches and floors and tables and not in our bed. So I was worried and anxious that he was mad and frustrated…

And I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned and recited scripture in my head, did the ABC’s, relived my wedding….nothing worked. I picked up my phone (BAD IDEA I KNOW) and checked Post Secret, because it always comes out in the wee hours of Sunday morning (it had).

I think I drifted off around 4:00AM. The alarm went off at 5:55.

I was a zombie all day.

Church was, nevertheless, awesome, because God and spirit make church in spite of us, and it was a great day.

We came home to gather round, all the students except my own gone back to JMU, and we moved – naturally – into the kitchen. Leftover sandwiches were on tap for lunch, and we grabbed what looked good and began to eat. Somebody said, “We didn’t pray….”, and we hadn’t – we’d just started grabbing and chewing. Somebody said, “Oh – thank you God for these sandwiches.”

My mom and dad walked in to say hi, and I laid my head on my daddy’s chest and said, “I’m tired, Dad.” He hugged me.

Shannon and Travis were bubbling with ideas for their upcoming wedding. They are both beaming constantly these days, hope and dreams for their future sizzling in the clutch of their arms around one another. Sydni, as always, engaged with everyone, smiling, eyes shining, adding value to every person in her line of sight. Courey and David and Max, moved around the kitchen in the comfortable dance that only comes with familiarity with cupboards and silverware drawers and what’s in the fridge. Daniel, beside me, alive and all smiles, more talkative, happier.

I noticed this: That the synergy of our family when we are literally together, is a palpable thing. It changes us.

There is a spirit, something that hovers above us, a joining of our spirits together РI believe that this is thing unique to our faith, settled in the truth of the Spirit that lives in us. Family becomes not just us together, but a separate, tangible thing.

And we are changed, because we feel it. It is precious. We feel alive and more ourselves when we are together.

Is this unusual? Are other families like this? Is this my unique perspective as the mother, the grounding force, the ballast at the center?

Or is there something to this?

I felt it in my own family of origin, between my brother and my parents and I. It is still there when we gather for reunions and vacations.

And now it is this larger thing…

Maybe it’s just me. Perhaps I’m a little skewed in how I attach value to our time together.

Whatever.

I like it.

(I do deeply, awfully, miss Sarah, who still resides in Savannah and was not here today…except in spirit.)

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3 Comments

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  1. I think sadly that many families don't experience this. I have it with my family for sure. You have nurtured this in your kids and they will do the same in theirs. It's a gift, this one of absolute and total love, trust, and acceptance among those who know and love you best.

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  2. This is beautiful. I have experienced this in our family, and felt very special as a family because of it. We often quote my grandmother, who said one time at a multi-generational gathering, other families aren't like this. She was grateful and proud. It is a fine legacy to have, that sense of family ties that can't be broken.

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  3. i fall in the category of families who do not experience this. i ache with jealousy.

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