But, this past week, the planets aligned and not only did I have my sister, brother-in-law and two adorable nephews in town visiting, my parents also made an appearance. And it's amazing, really, how easy it is with family. My sister and I don't see each other very often, with both of us having young families, and although my parents visit quite a bit, it's certainly nothing like having them here full time. But when they came it was as though they were always here. We fell easily into a routine of swimming all day and barbecuing at night while the adults sipped cold beer and wine and the 3 little boys ran and jumped and played and tumbled at our feet. We passed around the three littles as easily as if each of them was one of our own, and laughed at stories of awful (for my mother) teenage years and dreams of future moves and job and even more babies
The downside to the whole week was that on Wednesday I was stuck down by strep throat. And what I saw struck down, I mean it. I was out of commission. 103 fever, chills and shakes and in tears because my throat hurt so bad. So for two days my L was taken in by family while I lie in bed and tried to will myself better so I wouldn't miss anymore of the visit. It was pretty miserable, but by Friday I felt well enough to drag myself out of bed and S and I took the whole fam up to the creek. I like to think of the creek as our place. That magical, wonderful place that we can take people who visit us and they are always amazed when it really is as magical and wonderful as we told them. I didn't feel great still, so I spent most of the time sitting on my beach towel and letting the warm sun soak away the last chills from my fever. But I got watch, and that was enough for me. I got to watch my sister wimp her way slowly in the water and L be the bravest boy ever by not even squealing when he was the first one in the icy water. I watched as my older nephew hunted for minnows and my younger one played with his toy truck in the shallow pools of water that formed on the rocks.
And probably the best scene was watching L get a bottle in a way he probably never imagined, cuddle close to Gramp's chest as icy cold river water swirled around him.
It was a sad day when everyone finally left on Saturday, leaving the house and me, S and L with a slightly empty and lonely feeling. But, it made me realize something. I want this. I was so ready to leave home at 18, to strike out on my own and create my own life. And I've always been happy having my own place and space and being independent. But now I want my family around. As I watched L with his cousins and had that time with my sister that we never have, I realized I want them around. I want L to grow up with cousins to play with and ties to family and I want to strengthen those bonds with my own. striking out on my own was fun, but over the years I've come to realize that friends tend to come and go, but your family is always there, whether you always want them to be or not. And I love them, and they make me feel whole. and hopefully one day we will be in a situation where visits and barbecues and swapping babies won't be a once a year occurrence, but a daily one.