I spent the weekend with my extended family in Wilmington, NC, to honor my late grandmother at her memorial service. Although the occasion was somber because of the reason for the gathering, the family time was wonderful. We enjoyed a fun and busy cookout at my aunts house on Saturday evening, something we do not get to do very often because of the distance between all of us. And although Sunday was a day of mixed feelings and tears, we were able to spend quality time together during the memorial service and the lunch that followed.
All in all, it was a great weekend. Although we will miss our beloved mother and grandmother, her memorial service was more of a celebration of her life than a mourning of her loss. We know she is running, not just walking, with Jesus today. That she is singing and praising and overflowing with joy as she has been reunited with her husband of 63 years, and all of her family members who went before her. We all know she is looking down on her precious family with love, and that she will be the guardian angel for years to come.
I feel so immensely blessed to have the unusually large family that I have. I know without a shadow of a doubt, that if I ever needed anyone for anything, that any of my family members would offer their help, no matter how long it had been since we had seen each other. I am so lucky to have aunts and uncles and cousins spread all over the Southeast, and each of them are a treasure to me.
I think we often forget to remember what a treasure our family members truly are – not just extended family, but even those who live in our own home.
As we get caught up in our daily routines, work, communities, household obligations and family activities, I think we often forget to deeply treasure the ones we love, and thank God for them each day. Sometimes we tend to take the most important people in our lives for granted, even though they are our most priceless and irreplaceable treasures.
Yesterday my children were out of school for a teacher workday, and we had such a wonderful day together. Although my husband could not join us because he had to work, I was able to enjoy a day focused on nothing more than how much I adore my kids.
During our special time together, we enjoyed a leisurely morning at home and ate some home made waffles. We then headed off to a local national park, where we had a picnic in the warm sunshine, threw rocks at the lake, and played around in the woods, ending it off with a look at a nature preserve and a short nature hike. Then it was off to the mall to eat warm cinnamon pretzels, and shop for some new school clothes for spring. It really was a great day, not because of what I did, but because of who I was with.
It was a special day, because in my heart, I was reminded to remember how precious they are, and how much fun they are to be with.
I was reminded to see how unique each of them are, with their very own gifts, talents, quirks and personalities.
I was reminded of how their laughter and giggling is music to my ears and how that sweet sound makes my heart smile.
I was reminded to look at each of them with a renewed joy, a gentler tone, and a more patient love.
Even though my husband was not with us, I was reminded how much I love him and these children that we share together.
If there is one regret I never ever want to have to say, it would be that I forgot that my family was the most magnificent gift that I have ever been given.
Take a moment today to thank God for the people in your life – related by blood, or related by love and friendship – friends and family are treasures that can never be replaced.