The Blessing of Family

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(A pic of me, my mom, dad, and three sisters.  We’re missing my big brother, who couldn’t make the trip this year.)

My little tribe and I just got back from trekking cross-country (well, half way cross-country) to visit our family in Oklahoma City.  I gotta admit, prior to the beginning of that journey, there is always some apprehension.  Oh, it has nothing to do with worry about seeing family or anything like that (after all, when you ARE the weird uncle, there is never any family weirdness for you to worry about!).  Rather, the apprehension deals with packing up the car with your three children under the age of 10 and driving 1200 miles.  Straight through.  20-plus hours on the road.

But after the road-lag wore off (thanks to long afternoon naps and cool cousins who are willing to occupy your kids),  I thoroughly enjoyed our time in the heartland with my family.  From simply hanging out and chatting over a cup of coffee (actually, mancups of coffee!) or swimming for hours on end, or guitar shopping with my bro-in-law, to church on Father’s Day  with my dad, to the beautiful outdoor wedding of my niece, it was a really great trip.

After we got home Tuesday, I was tucking my kids into bed, and each of them shared how they miss their family already, and how they had such a great time.  They told me they were thankful for their family.

Yeah, me too, kiddos.

I know that many of you reading this do not have the blessing of a close family, or even family at all.  My heart breaks for that.  I’m so grateful for the time we have with our family, both those who are close to us here in NC, and those who are miles away across the country.  To see my kids having grateful hearts for that as well…yeah, that’s pretty awesome.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to take some time off and go spend that time with my family.  I’m thankful for the memories that we created, that my kids made, that my family made.

And I’m thankful that it was hard to leave.  I’m thankful for the tears that morning as we piled into the car for the return trip.  Those tears are a reminder not to take the time we have for granted, not to “waste the second hand” (in the words of songwriter Andrew Osenga).  Time passes too quickly, and those moments we have with our loved ones should be cherished, whether they are the “big events” like a wedding, or Father’s day worship, or the “small ” simple times sipping coffee under the stars.

They’re all golden.

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