Growing up, my extended family - aunts, uncles, cousins and both sets of grandparents - were spread out across the country. This was unusual for the small, farming community in which I spent most of my childhood. And while I occasionally envied the large holiday celebrations that my friends enjoyed, and their ability to rattle off just how exactly they were related to most everyone else in my elementary school class, I generally didn't think too much about it. Visits with family, while rare, were wildly anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed. My parents looked forward to visits from their siblings and parents, in some cases, simply because they were so rare. There was no opportunity to re-hash childhood hurts or continue old rivalries. Family stories frequently ended in rounds of hysterical laughter, and there were far more hugs than tears when everyone was together.
My children have a similar set of circumstances. My parents and sisters live on the east coast, and Matthew's family on the west coast. And while we can travel there, and they can come here, it's rare and it's special. And last week's visit was especially sweet because we got to celebrate a very special birthday for Cousin Gavin. Poor Gavin was teething when we were there, but we managed to get a few smiles out of him.
Gavin was probably looking at Patrick and wondering why he was having to work so hard to have his teeth come in when they're only going to turn around and fall right out again (notice Patrick's gap-toothed smile!)
It was a short visit this time, and one I'm afraid Couper especially found to pass far to quickly. My sweet girl loves family visits, and I forget sometimes how much she dislikes saying goodbye. But we will be seeing everyone again in a few months for a much longer period, and the second half of our trip was something she had really been excited about - New York City! But that's a story for another post.
Our thanks again to our hosts and more hugs and kisses to the "spoilers," aunties, uncles and cousins. We look forward to seeing you again very soon.