Monday, December 3, 2012

Savoring Extended Family this Season



Bouncy European pop music reverberates up the stairs as my daughter practices her gymnastics floor routine for tomorrow’s competition. My senior son crams for finals, stopping upstairs for an ice cream malt and more pizza. Preschooler sleeps already in his tall bed, despite the noise, while my man plays games with two friends at the kitchen table. 

I have missed you, my online community. Sorry for my two week hiatus. I am eager to scroll through my subscriptions from you, and to jump over to your sites to catch up on your lives. 

My sister, brother and I.
While gone from you these last days, I savored an extended family week with my out-of-state brother, and then a second-honeymoon-style vacation away with my man. 

I don’t know what your family visits look like, but ours include long talks over meals, family games of Rook, Speed Scrabble, cards, and the Mexican Train game; frequent walks outside into wooded areas or exploring new pathways; and laughter over my dad’s familiar and cherished stories. They smirk at my two worn-out jokes, which I find funnier than anyone --shaking in silent laughter before it even starts, gaining my composure, and then trying to finish the punch line without collapsing again. My parents, sister, brother and husband grin at each other and laugh at me, instead of the joke. Mom brings pumpkin pie, and unwraps bundle after bundle of food. Tiny niece prattles a mixture of French and English and chases after Daniel. Skinny, lean, rock-climbing brother sits quietly, smiling, taking in all the noise and bustle, and feeling a sense of home. We brew another pot of coffee, and pour mugs deep. He stirs in sugar and the half-in-half that Mom brought, trying to fatten him up slightly after his illness. We shuffle the cards and deal again. 

At the end of the week, I hug him fiercely, this brother I see only once a year. “I am so proud of the man you are,” I whisper to him. “I love that you are a hard worker, that you are polite and kind and respectful of people, and that you are a man of integrity.” I hug him again tightly, not wanting to let him go. Kissing his cheek, I pull back, say good bye again, and let him walk down the driveway with my sister into the cold snowy night. Through the glass storm door, I see car doors slam, watch red brake lights flare on, and then hear tires crunch down snowy streets. 

The next morning while the world slept, noble friends set alarms and crept from a warm bed to drive Mark and I to the airport for our week away. 

I have missed you, friends, and am eager to peek back into your hearts and minds. 

What do your family times look like? I love hearing from you. (Those in email can join the discussion here.

Linking with Ann and Shanda... thank you, God.  

Photos mine. 

12 comments:

Betty said...

With my family it is alway tense due to one negative talk...but with my husband family there is laughter and talking about the things God is doing in our life. To both family I know I must give the same love, one is just easier then the other.

There is nothing greater then when our two children and their children are together which is not often. But when we are together we savor every moment as if it is our last. Next year this will happen as our daughter and family will be in the states for a year.

Great post Jennifer...wonderful to hear of the sweet time with family. And so glad you and hubby got some time away. Much needed for a marriage to stay healthy. Blessings my sister.

Mary @ Woman to Woman said...

My family is scattered across the U.S. When we manage to get together we spend most of our time talking, laughing, reminiscing, playing games and, like Betty, we try to "savor every moment as if it's our last". I'm so glad you got to spend some sweet memory-making time with your family and then alone with your man!

I'm a new follower via Pause on the Path!

MyJourneyBack said...

Beautiful post. You are Blessed.
Thanks for sharing.
Sherry

AmyAlves said...

It's fantastic to have you back Jennifer! And what a lovely hiatus you had. Blessings out girl, Amy :)

Cheryl Barker said...

Sounds like you had an amazing time during your hiatus. Yay!Family times are so great. We are gamers, too, so our times together always include some of those as well :)

cabinart said...

What fun to see your siblings! Stunningly beautiful photo of you; your brother's bright blue eyes make me want to see what he looks like really smiling, and I just KNOW your sister and I could be friends, based on her demeanor and scarf in my favorite teal color. 8-)

Missed you from Cyberspace - welcome home.

(And glad you mentioned coffee in this post, teehee.)

Jennifer Dougan said...

Betty,

Forgive my delay. Family can be complicated sometimes, you're right. You speak truth too in reaching out to both in love.

Nice to talk with you again. I'm missing being here, and glad to have this chance today to jump back into blogworld.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Mary,

Nice to meet you, and I'm honored to have you join this site. I enjoy getting to know people.

I'm like you, savoring every moment as if it's our last too. When was the last time you got to savor your family together too?

Looking forward to getting to know you more,
Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Hello My Journey Back,

I'm so glad you stopped by. Thank you. Forgive my awful delay in getting back to you.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi Amy,

smiles to you,
Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Cheryl,

Forgive my awful delay. Fellow family gamers! That's great. What games do you all play?

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Hello Teal Girl (Cabinart),

I wish you lived closer. I know that we would have fun over my coffee and your tea (?). Yes, we had a wonderful time with my brother in town, and his smiles are lovely. :) My sister is a gentle, rock climbing dynamo, like her brother. She croons in French to her child and is a kind little sister for me to talk with.

I'm glad to be back too. I've missed being here, with you all.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com