This weekend we went to Richmond, IN to celebrate the 15th birthday of the boy who changed our family forever, and simply to delight in the blessing of family.
Jack is the oldest grandchild on the McFarland side of our family, and his arrival into our world just over 15 years ago changed our little family forever. Jack and the other three grandchildren have bonded us together in ways we would never have been without them.
I first met my in-laws when I was just 16 years old, and I liked them right away. After all we have something incredibly important in common (our mutual love for and respect of Jason). This forms a natural bond that has just grown deeper with the passage of time.
Bob and Linda chose to be gracious, welcoming, and kind to me even when I was that sometimes annoying teenage girl who followed their beloved son everywhere he went (actually not much has changed except that Jason and I are a whole lot older now).
Then Jack made Jason’s parents grandparents, and they got even cooler. Actually – much – much cooler which was a pretty impressive feat!
Grandparents are such fun, delightful, patient, funny creatures. They smile so much more than parents do, and I think that they laugh a lot more. Grandparents are indulgent, but not too indulgent (in the case of Bob and Linda). They know their grandchildren are gifts from God, and they never forget it (not even when they are being really, really annoying). They hug, and kiss. They affirm, and listen. They praise, and care. They smile, and laugh. They celebrate, and give thanks. They delight, and enjoy.
I started dating Jason when his sister Elizabeth was the age Jack is now (we are getting sooooooo old). We have a lot of history. Elizabeth is the keeper of our secrets and knows the dirt on us. And more importantly with this history comes trust, respect, and friendship.
Jason and I met Elizabeth’s husband John the weekend we got married. John impressed us immediately with his awesomeness. He ran errands for us on our wedding day like a pro – in a strange city – with a smile! John is incredibly nice and fun and funny.
Fifteen years ago Jack turned Elizabeth and John into Auntie and Uncle. Elizabeth and John were already two of my favorite people on the entire planet, but once they became Auntie and Uncle they were transformed into two of the most awesome people I have ever met. They are dazzling! (I am not kidding. They will take a McFarland son for an entire week and not bat an eye. Actually – they will take both of them at the same time for an entire week – with a smile! They are crazy nice.)
This weekend we spent time together celebrating our crazy, funny, unique, wonderful family.
We talked – swapped favorite stories – ate (Linda is a magnificent cook) – laughed – planned – watched our kids play – and gave God thanks.
There was cake too. And there were balloons – lots and lots of balloons.
This year we had the annual water balloon fight in honor of Jack’s summer birthday at Mimi and Papa’s house and invited the cousins, the dogs, and Uncle John to join in the fun. The rest of us just laughed until our sides hurt!
As I watched and listened and observed this weekend – I thought over and over and over again “God sighting . . . God sighting . . . God sighting . . . God sighting . . . God sighting!”
Where have you seen God’s presence lately? How have you celebrated God’s blessings in your life? For whom do you give thanks?