I got into town Friday evening and met my parents, sisters, aunts, and cousins for dinner. It was so nice to see and catch up with family that I haven't seen in probably close to 10 years. Some of them, it's been longer than that.
Bill wasn't able to make the trip with me because of work obligations, so Bre and I spent a lot of time Facetiming with him over the weekend. When I was driving home yesterday, he sent me a text that said "I'm ready for you to be home. How did we go weeks at a time?" I honestly don't know how we made it through the months of long-distance dating, because I couldn't get home to him fast enough after being apart for two days.
Friday was also my Father-in-Law's birthday. Bre was so excited to call Papaw Jim and tell him 'Happy Birthday'. She absolutely adores Bill's parents - as do the big girls - so she couldn't wait to talk to them on the phone.
Bre and Papaw Jim - Christmas 2012.
Saturday morning, Bre and I got up and ran some errands and then went to Winslow to join the rest of our family for a surprise 50th wedding anniversary for my grandparents.
FIFTY YEARS! I hope Bill and I live long enough to celebrate 50 years together.
Still so in love after all that time.
I love getting to spend time with my siblings. It reminds me of sitting around, after church on Sundays, and just engaging in random conversations.
Above is my brother - Chris, my stepmom - Roxann, my niece - Charlotte, my sister - Mary Beth (or as my girls call her B-Beth), my brother in law - Andrew, me/Bre, and my sister in law - Mindy (my brother - Jeff is her husband, and their kids are Avery and Dawson, but I think they had slipped out to go play at the playground for a little bit).
I also got some much needed Mommy time with this sweet little girl. Sunday we went to see Monsters University, which was really cute. But the best part of it was when she asked to sit in my lap, and snuggled into my chest the entire movie. I'm going to miss it when she's too big to do that.
(And yes, I'm aware that my eyes have huge bags under them. Bre, lovingly, asked me why I have purple spots under my eyes. haha. Gotta love kids bluntness.)
Sunday was also the mark of two other big events in our family.
Grandma Lola turned 91!!!
When we were discussing where we wanted to get married, we tossed around a few different logistics, but ultimately decided Emerald Isle because it would make it possible for Leola to be with us.
I love listening to her tell the story of falling in love and marrying Bill's granddaddy in less than a three week's time period. When you know, you know.
This is one of my absolute favorite wedding pictures, and it occurred to me while looking at it that if Bill and I are blessed to celebrate 50 years together, he will be the exact age Grandma Lola is now, that year.
Sunday also marked the anniversary of Steph's passing.
I stopped by her grave to 'talk' to her, and when I told her that I love her, her wind chime started playing.
I know you heard me, Steph.
As soon as I walked to my car, the rain started pouring.
Casting Crowns 'Priase You In This Storm' came on Pandora a few miles into my drive, and I knew what the lyrics of that song say are true, 'Every tear I've cried, You hold in your hands'.
Through my tears, I looked up and saw one of the most beautiful rainbows I've ever seen.
I wasn't alone in my grief.
I was being comforted by the One who gives and takes away.
What I didn't know until yesterday, was that today is the anniversary of Bill's cousin/best friends passing.
With each passing day - each observation of moments in our lives that are so similar (in occurrence and timing), I am more and more convinced that our 'broken' roads lead us to one another for reasons greater than we can even, at times, fathom.