Best. Gift. Ever.

It was a very quiet Christmas Eve at our house this year…until it wasn’t. Chris and I were home alone. The girls had left for a trip with their mom earlier in the day. Carty was with her dad and step mom’s family. Zach and Katie were on their way down from Katie’s family’s gathering in Canton. We decided to watch a movie while we waited for them to arrive. And then a second movie. Zach texted and asked if we were going to wait up for them, so we started a third movie. (Stop judging – it was a holiday).

Whenever Zach and Katie come to visit, they always bring Archie, their dog, with them. So when they arrived, it was the usual chaos of Archie and Malone (our dog) chasing each other around and jumping over furniture and establishing dominance in the house. It’s honestly a ritual that I have grown to love. After the excitement of the arrival died down, Zach said that he and Katie wanted to give us ONE of our presents. They just couldn’t wait.

Maybe it was the seven plus hours spent on the couch in a movie stupor, maybe it was the wine, or maybe it was just the excitement of their arrival, but I had no clue what was in the box. I slowly opened it and opened the card that was inside…and that’s when I got it.

Instantly the happy tears began to flow. I remember covering my face and trying to grasp what was being shared with us. Our son and daughter in law were expecting our first grandchild. I remember saying over and over “I’m going to be a grandma.” Zach then reminded me that I hadn’t made it past the card yet. So I gathered myself (ish) and peeled back the tissue paper in the box to find a sonogram picture of my grandchild. Katie was 13 weeks pregnant! This brought another round of happy tears and hugs and more proclamations that we were going to be grandparents. Those moments in time will forever and always be one of my fondest memories. We hugged and cried and laughed for quite some time that evening! It truly was the best gift ever.

Now that the holidays are over and life has begun to settle back into its normal rhythm, I have had a lot of time to think about all of it. Zach is my firstborn. My only son. My baby boy. All of the memories of Zach coming into the world and growing into such an amazing young man keep playing over in my mind. I am still trying to get used to the idea that he is a married man. I am still over the moon with excitement and emotion from their wedding day in September. Watching him that night, barely able to contain his excitement while sharing his news wrecks me every time I recall it. My son is going to be a dad. He and his wife are bringing life into this world! And they are going to be amazing. Life truly is so beautiful. This precious memory of receiving the news of a baby is just the start of so many more to come as they form their family.

Wife, momma, teacher, Jesus follower….and now “Mimsy.”

Comfort food

There is just something so very special about sharing a meal with loved ones. Today is my mom’s birthday so we had my parents over for dinner to celebrate! My husband made his famous meatloaf accompanied by mashed potatoes and sweet skillet corn. That meal was a staple from my childhood. Sitting with my parents and listening to my daddy bless our food was pure comfort.

My parents spent the last month in Canada visiting my baby sister and her family. We have not seen them in nearly two years and we miss them terribly. As much as I worried about my parents making the 28 hour car trip, I know that it was good for all of them to be reunited. And even though I don’t see my parents nearly as often as I would like, I missed them. They were too far away. When they phoned to let me know they were safe at home, I was so relieved and happy. It made me smile to think that I used to have to call them to let them know that I was home safe…and now I was on the other end of that phone call.

As we broke bread around the kitchen table I was filled with comfort and peace. They shared stories of their time with my sister, brother-in-law and their grand-babies. We giggled as we listened to my daddy’s stories of his thick Kentucky accent causing some serious confusion on the French-speaking island that my sister calls home. They tried to make light of getting lost in Rhode Island for the better part of two hours (pretty sure you could see the whole state in two hours), and not being able to find a gas station that sold paper maps.

I count it as a blessing to still have my parents here on Earth to share birthdays, partake in family meals, attempt to pose for selfies and to hug around the neck. I am so thankful for these sweet hours spent together, for the comfort my parents bring with their presence, and for each and every memory we are able to create each time we come together.

Reason to celebrate

Yesterday was such an amazing day of celebration. First and foremost, we celebrated Easter – Resurrection Day! The day the we declare that the tomb was empty, Jesus had risen and in that we find our freedom. We gathered at our house later in the afternoon to hunt Easter eggs and share a meal together. But we also celebrated being together. It had been more than a year since we had broken bread with my parents. We had shared some driveway visits over the last year, and lots of FaceTime calls, but we had not been in the same room for more than 365 days! I had not felt a hug from my mom and daddy for over 12 months!

So we gathered, my parents, Chris’ parents, and our girls. We missed having Zach and Katie, and our siblings and nieces and nephews. And we hope that someday soon we can ALL gather together. But we enjoyed the precious time we did have with those who were able to be together. We laughed. We talked. And we listened. Sometimes we just sat – perfectly content with the silence of each other’s company.

The lesson we will take away is a lesson that many of us have learned through this incredibly challenging year. We learned to not take for granted the time we have with those we love. We learned to take every opportunity to be present with each other. I am so thankful for those lessons.