Family Really is Everything!
I had the most incredible time at my Davoll/Duvall family reunion last week. We haven't had one in years and I missed the last one. Even though I know that family really is everything, I wasn't hyped up about going to the reunion. I had several other long trips planned for this summer and going back to Columbia, SC just didn't sound exciting to me. I'm glad that 2 factors prevailed. First, my dad is the last living member of his large brood of siblings. Dad will be 85 in two months. He is healthy except for random knee pain and diabetes which he manages extremely well, but he is "grown" as he likes to say. (He isn't old because he drives to visit or take communion to old people. :-)) Second, my granddaughter loves meeting family. Aside from my dad, brothers and niece, she had met very few other family members and didn't remember the others she had met. So, I decided I needed to go home and take her with me. So, Eden and I packed our bags, boarded a plane and couldn't wait to get to my hometown to see the family. Her excitement was contagious. As we were waiting for take-off, she grabbed my hand, mostly to calm her nerves about the take off, and said "Gigi, family is everything". Now I've heard that and said that before but hearing it from her lips made my heart swell. Family Really is Everything!! It was family time from the moment my brother picked us up from the airport until he took us back 6 days later. Seeing Eden go from timidly introducing herself at the first gathering to running around, holding hands, hugging and smack-talking cousins of all ages was a thing of beauty. She and I spend a lot of time together when we're in Dallas. But honey, she had little time for me during the reunion which is just the way I liked it. We rolled into my dad's house late every night and shared the best parts of our day before falling asleep mid-sentence. It was wonderful. My Special Memories The first morning I awoke to the smell of bacon and coffee. I don't drink coffee and rarely eat bacon, but what the heck we're at dad's house. The picture that I'll never forget is of my dad and Eden chatting, laughing and cooking together in his kitchen. I never knew my paternal grandparents. They died before my parents were married. And here was Eden hanging out with her great-grandfather in his house! Another heart swelling moment. Did I mention that we're a hugging and kissing clan? Eden jokingly told my dad, "Granddaddy, you're gonna have to get your blood sugar checked with all this sugar you keep getting." :-) Dancing the night away at the White Party Banquet was so much fun. Everyone was on the floor dancing with partners regardless of age. The pièce de résistance of the night was watching my dad, who never dances, stroll down the Soul Train line with my blind cousin José! Cameras were rolling and lights flashing but I don't need a picture to remember that moment. It is forever emblazoned in my mind. It was beautiful to see and hear stories from cousins I've known all my life. And even more enthralling to hear them from cousins I'd never met in person. One new-found cousin who had never met us said that she'd never imagined the unconditional love she and her children would experience. Her words sum us up in a nutshell. The Davoll/Duvall family opens its arms wide, encircles you with bodacious love and never lets you go. I am so grateful that they are mine. Family really is everything! Gratitude - You Don't Have To - You Get To! Quality Time With Others