Friday, June 3, 2016

All Together

Dinner at Native Grill: Sarah, Jacob, Danielle, and Mark.
May 26, 2016

Now that graduation and the wedding are over, things are settling down and life is much quieter. With eight weeks of summer vacation ahead of me, I've already begun to find time for little tasks that have been put off for the last ten months. It's all good. Except I miss having my whole family together.

Sarah was very good and ordered a salad. Jacob ordered a favorite
from the days when he worked as a cook here. Mark also worked at a Native 
in Mesa when he was a teen, back when it was still called Native New Yorker.

Don't get me wrong. I can definitely get used to this whole empty nest thing. Yesterday I cleaned the kitchen and, wonder of wonders, this morning it's still all clean. Just a small, neat stack of dinner dishes from last night's grilled steak and green salad, waiting for me to quickly wash them up. (Mark is tolerably tidy, for a man!) Throughout the next few weeks I'll be doing a deep cleaning of my house, and I look forward to having each room remain spotless as I move on to the next.

Danielle and Mark show their dinner orders, too. It's funny how
food is always so central to family gatherings!

So it's not that I need my children living under my roof, constantly under my watchful eye. The greatest joy of my life has been watching them try their wings and then fly away to start their own lives, knowing that they have the skills and confidence to no longer need me to take care of them. I think that means I did my job as a mom right.

Brothers Jacob and Dylan before the wedding, with Sarah on the left behind them.
Dylan could not have a wedding without his siblings there to support him.
May 29, 2016

What I miss is being able to gather together often. I love to watch my kids interact, alternately wrestling and hugging, teasing one another, building and sharing memories, driving each other crazy, and then suddenly doing thoughtful little surprises for each other. They truly are best friends.

My whole family, on our last night together for the next four months.
Sarah, Chris, Jacob, Danielle, Jake, Dylan, and Mark at El Rancho.
Memorial Day, May 30, 2016

As always, it was hard to say good-bye when Jacob and Danielle headed back to Utah and their lives there. We are planning a trip to visit them there in six weeks, but it won't be all eight of us since Chris has to stay and work. That means we won't all be together again until four months from now, when we take our big family vacation to Anaheim and pay a visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. 

We are all very much looking forward to the fun of our vacation. However, I think we all agree that, while theme parks and the Pacific Ocean's beaches are awesome, the best thing of all will be a full week of our family being together again!

Proof that I was there, too!

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