I think I have a lovely family. Not just Hubby, Junior, myself and the two crazy dogs, but I’m just going to go right on and extend that loveliness on to a few more people.
When I was little I just didn’t know the meaning of “family”. Sure, I’d be dragged to stuffy church sessions, family dinners where adults would talk and talk and talk until they finally got bored of us kids begging to be excused from the table, and we’d whine and roll our eyes when asked to help around the house, and although we loved the people we were related to, it was still foreign to understand just how connected we were. I went away to college and learned through utter loneliness how important family dinners were, and when I couldn’t afford train tickets home for the holidays, I came to appreciate my parents driving me around as a kid. Those weekends where my father would drive to pick my sister and I up for a visit was time out of his very busy life, but he always made time for us. We were often lulled to sleep by his guitar playing. My mother scrimped to make sure we had a roof over our heads and her house rules taught us great discipline and life lessons on caring and being open minded. I never really appreciated my upbringing until recently. With a house, a husband, a baby and land taxes to boot, life has caught up to me and I’m a full-fledged adult. I now realize how loving my family is, and how distant I must have seemed to them.
In recent years I’ve tried my best to visit family more often, write letters, and send emails. For some reason I still loathe making phone calls, perhaps it was the years of working in a call center that makes me dread picking up and dialing anyone. But I want to make the effort. I want to be there for my family where I can, and hopefully when they need it. I want to be there when they don’t need it too, a quick surprise visit or a card for no reason. But with each passing day I am made aware just how important family is.
My father, who is the world’s busiest man, has been on vacation. By “vacation” I mean the fact he is not working at his normal day job for the week. Instead he has been tinkering with a snowblower that might eventually make it to our driveway. I never asked for this, but off he went to get it working, taking his precious time to help other people. My grandfather and my Aunt took time out of their day to pick giant pinecones for me, filling a bucket which they presented to me when I visited. I hardly remember mentioning how beautiful the cones were on my last visit and I’ve been tinkering with cones here at home lately. It was a pleasant surprise. Then, my grandparents and my Aunt surprised me with perhaps the most touching surprise ever, a load of wood. Now, I know, most normal people would gush over a cash laden envelope, or maybe a new watch, but for this country girl, a load of wood is as meaningful as anything, plus it’s pretty darn useful. Our supply of wood was getting lower and lower, and our oil tank gauge has been slinking closer to the big E with each day. With Christmas coming, things are tight. This morning, very early my family got into the old pickup truck and drove nearly 45 minutes to my house where we proceeded to stack wood into my wood room, filling it to the rafters with lovely dry wood. I wish I did buy lottery tickets as I wish I could repay them, but I think that even if I could give them cash for the wood, it just wouldn’t express how I feel about their touching and thoughtful gift. I thanked them in the only way I could, an overcooked quiche and a few greenery swags made with some of their pine cones. (in my defence the quiche was in the oven while we were stacking wood and I was having too much fun to check it). I know my grandmother reads my blog (for which I am impressed and honoured) but this next sentence is for you, and for you to pass onto everyone down there. I love you. I love you so much, and appreciate all you have done. Junior and I are snug as bugs in our warm house tonight (Hubby is still at work at 10pm at night!) and this is thanks to you. This busy holiday season, we should all take the time to sit down with a cup of tea (or hot water) with our family and let them know they are loved.