We Are

(let's pretend Andrew's in these pictures too, mmkay?)

I love my family.

I have an amazing Mom and Dad and was double blessed with awesome Step Parents.

My brother is my absolute biggest hero.

I have Grandparents that love me unconditionally and cheer me on in everything I do.

Aunts and Uncles who are more like additional parents.

I hate living so far from them all.

Hate probably isn't a strong enough word.

If I could have all of us living on a small little compound up on a lake somewhere in Minnesota, I think all my dreams would come true.

When I fly Up North or drive down to Florida, my sole agenda is to spend every waking moment with as many family members as possible.

But it wasn't always my hearts desire to have so much quality time with people who share my bloodline.

In fact, I spent mass amounts of time during my teenage years doing anything I could to dodge any sort of family gathering.

Playing cards or eating dinner or, Heaven forbid, having a conversation with my family was the very last thing I wanted to do.

I'm not exactly sure when I went from an ungrateful brat to someone in absolute awe of the people I get to call family, but it happened.

I've heard it's common.

Teenagers are busy acting like their friends and social life are all that matters.

It's just a stage of life.

But as I sat at our cabin last month and glanced around the room at the sheer talent and knowledge and unbelievable love that is my family, I felt an indescribable need to not let that stage happen for my children.

I want to find a way to show them just how amazing and unique each member of our family is.

I want Josie to always love spending Mondays with her Nana, even when she's 17.

I want Gabriel to still watch airplanes with his Papa Curt when he's 15 (even if I won't let him go up!).

I want both of them to count down the days, hours, minutes until we load in the car to make the trip to Grandpa's every single time we do right up until we are carpooling down with their kids too.

And I want them to be stock full of Minnesota Memories.  

My Grandpa, our Papa Moose, was a Marine.

I had no idea he was until his big 80th birthday party last Summer.

And now he's gone and I'll never get to ask him to tell me about it.

All that first hand history that I could have heard from his very lips, lost.  All because I had to go drive around with my loser boyfriend instead of going Up North.

I don't want Josie and Gabriel to miss those stories.

I'm not sure what I'll have to do to make sure we skip this phase that everyone says is so natural.

Maybe I'll invest in some handcuffs and duct tape and take them as hostages when they think they have something better to do than a family activity.

Or maybe I'll start praying that God reveal to them just how blessed they are to have the family they do.

Maybe I'd better do both.

All I know for sure, is I'm so glad I smartened up and didn't waste the rest of my life dodging the most amazing people to ever have lived.

I am one seriously blessed girl.