Family is Everything
I have been blessed with an amazing family. My husband Dave and I have been married 36 years. I have two loving, strong, hardworking, compassionate, boys, Bill and Andy. They have blessed me with two beautiful daughter-in-laws who are both extraordinary mothers that have blessed me with three precious grandchildren, Ella, Liam and Kenrich! Life is AMAZING!!!!
I learned very early on in life the importance of family! It was something that my mother instilled in me. She taught me that relationships within your immediate family were very important. She also taught me not only how to love one another unconditionally, she taught me how important it is to forgive one another. She let me know that our family did not end with the six of us! We had so many more family members that loved each one of us. Grandmas, Grandpas, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins.
My maternal grandfather had 16 brothers and sisters so I had a whole bunch of cousins. When we traveled, we rarely stayed at a hotel. I believe we had cousins in almost every state. It was super cool.
I was the second oldest of four children. Allen was one year older than I and then Dawn is two years younger and Karen is four years younger. We had a blast as kids. We didn't have a lot of money, but we had family and we knew how to play well together.
We lived outside most of the summer. We played in the ditches when it rained and we rode bikes and picked berries. We pulled weeds in the garden and of course, picked beans and the rest of the crops. We also had fun at the park.
Every afternoon stared out the kitchen window around 3:30 pm, waiting for my dad's dump truck to go by on Irish Road. We would see and and the race would begin. We ran through the living room, out the front door and then as fast as we could be would run down Woodfield Road trying to get to the corner before dad. He would stop his dump truck, load the four of us in and one of us would sit on his lap and drive the dump truck home! Pure JOY! So much fun! Treasured memories!
In the Winter, we had an ice rink in the empty lot behind our house for the whole neighborhood to use. My mother had the patience of a Saint. Four children. We would skate, and then one at a time, we would need to go to the restroom. She would untie our skates, we went potty and then she would put the skates back on. Next child two or three minutes later and she would repeat. I truly do not believe I have that kind of patience, but she was a trooper.
Ok, back to family. Needless to say, we played well together and truly loved one another.
We learned the importance of our extended family as well. We had many first cousins and we were close to all of them. They were more like brothers and sisters, than first cousins.
My maternal grandmother, Mildred, used to take two of us grand kids at a time to stay overnight. She made sure that we got an education in the arts. She took us to various museums and art galleries. It was a super special time.
Even though my early childhood was riddled with tragedy, I learned a very important lesson that family and faith is what gets you through the darkest of times.
I lost my brother to an automobile accident when he was just 10 years old. That tragedy would be a part of me for the rest of my life. Even though it is not as much of a burden on my soul anymore, I still remember it as if it was yesterday.
Our family struggled quite a bit following the tragedy, but we all worked through it and leaned on each other through the tough times.
It was grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friendships that carried me through the times that I was unable to carry myself.
I learned later on in life that the ONE who truly carries you is Jesus Christ! I have visualized myself laying in his lap so many times in my life. I know that he holds me, soothes me and completely protects me. My relationship with him is the most important relationship in my life.
As I am typing this I am sitting here in South Carolina with my first cousins! I am in my fifties now and we are as close as we were when we were 10. We are like brothers and sisters. We play cards together, we chat about life, and we laugh non-stop! Life is so good.
I love the following quote! It is so true of our family and the author is unknown. This unknown author truly knew the meaning of true family.
"Our family is a circle of strength and love, with every birth and every union, the circle will grow, every joy shared adds more love, every crisis faced together, makes the circle stronger."
This is true of my family and my extended family. I hope that it is true of yours. If not, I am praying that today is the start of a new chapter. Reach out to someone and start a conversation. Let them know you care. You may be very surprised where your journey takes you!