Today I met two very special family members for the first time. My brother and his family have come back to our hometown for a visit. For some, that isn't something to write home about. However, we haven't seen each other since our father passed away in 1999. You could ask what in the world has prevented us from seeing each other for so long. Circumstances simply didn't allow it. I lived in Georgia, they in Arizona and our paths just never connected. For me, finances are always a hurdle to jump. We've kept in touch to some degree, but more recently we've been talking with greater depth. We were always close as youngsters, but life has a way of grabbing you by your undies and inflicting wedgies ... and we lose sight of everything other than successfully digging your britches from your posterior.
So, these two VIPs are my niece and nephew. Immediately they captured my heart. To receive a big hug from my 4 yr old nephew for the first time just sent me over the edge. I'm soaring with elation. My niece is reserved, but I can tell it won't too long before she warms up to her Auntie Riss. My son thinks they are both so adorable. I have to agree.
Our family Christmas celebration is tomorrow. Not only is my brother's beautiful family here, but my 23 year old niece is returning from her Walt Disney internship. I can't wait to spend time with her and catch up. She and I can laugh at things no one else understands. We'll be in a store, a room, a restaurant and spy something odd. We make eye contact and we just know what the other is thinking; we burst into laughter. Often, it's uncontrollable. You know how you get when you are trying not to laugh. Say, when you're in church or some other solemn environment.
My family is definitely not lacking in the ability to laugh. What's more important is that we can laugh at ourselves. The more mature I get, the more I appreciate them. I guess that's expected, really. Having spent so many holidays away while residing in Georgia helped me gain perspective on the importance of family. We might not always agree (who does?), we have varied personalities, but the bottom line is that we all love one another ... even if the unconditional part doesn't come easily.