Oh, yesterday I had to go back to work. (boo) I had spent the last week and a few days with family and friends and enjoyed it all. It started with a trip back to my home state. I met up with my sister and her daughter and our cousin who is my sister's age and her family during a nice downtown concert. After Chipotle, a playgym and some rocking ice cream I headed back to the hotel with the kiddos. We continued with the celebration of my brother's marriage to a really great gal, which was a nice time, but all too short. My dear sister and one of her daughters rode back with me and my kids in the car. That was a fun trip. A bit long, but we took breaks for gas and Cold Stone, and a Subway pit stop.
The week was anything goes. The kids had summer school, so my sister and her kid got up at leisurely hours. We did things a toddler could handle, walks to the swing and to the park, playing in the backyard, pulling out trains from my son's toddler days, riding tricycles and bikes. My kids, being 6 and 9 years her senior, did surprisingly well with a small toddler cousin (who is only just two and can tell you in whole paragraphs about anything and everything, which floored me). A run to the tattoo place (which you already know), a visit to an indoor pool (hey, it may be summer, but it still is Wisconsin), a few naps, mommy bike rides and mommy runs and a couple of visits to our favorite ice cream place.
And the late nights. My sister and I come from a night owl, our mother. Our brother also seems to have gotten this gene. If we could all get up at 10 am and stay up until 2 am, I think we'd feel we had it made. (My poor dad falls asleep by 8 pm, but is up and at them by 5 am.) Good thing I didn't have to work, but I did have to get up somewhat early as I had to send a couple of kids off to summer school on time. I drank a lot of iced coffee this week. But those late nights were good for reconnecting and discussing all sorts of kid raising issues, friends, old times, things we remembered.
Your siblings and parents have known you the longest and at your youngest. Though we change as we grow older, there's something comforting knowing that someone knew you "before." What you liked and disliked, how you acted as a kid. They may have changed, but still things stay the same.
My birthday rolled around and I had a brother, a sister-in-law, a sister, a brother-in-law, two nieces, two kids of my own, a husband and friends from way back, friends who are tight with me now, and newer friends that are gracious and fascinating. Not everyone could show up and they were missed, but it was the right amount and right mix of people. We had a great time at the park, all the kids that came got along very well and the set up and take down was so easy with all my relatives at hand. My high school friends sent me my "over-the-hill" flowers, which made me smile.
One of my very best college friends made the trip with her family, which was fantastic since the last time we saw each other might have been two years ago. People came and went with food and we nearly got rid of all the cake the first time around.
The night ended late, as only we siblings can do. The kids were in rare form, making up dance recitals and plays, while the adults gathered at the kitchen table to reminisce about childhoods, giving away family secrets to spouses, gentle teasing and literal ribbing. The next morning, before all my siblings and spouses left, we took pictures.
Now, you will note that me and my siblings seem to be on the short side. That is correct.
And you may note that our spouses are on the tall side. That is also correct.
I think we all had some innate need to even out the gene pool.
I am contemplating that maybe my career should be in getting together with my family and friends. Life would be perfect, then. There's just this little thing called money (and health benefits) that would not be forthcoming with that lifestyle. I need to keep looking. If I could combine a career with a way to get to see my family and friends every day, or at least once a week, I might find what I'm looking for in life.
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