There are all kinds of ways to feel close as a family.
Last Saturday we had it this way: An afternoon all together. Well mostly. Johnathan was at the beach with his young singles group from church, but since I try to think of him as an adult who happens to be staying with us, it works out that he was doing his own thing.
The rest of us, however, made a plan to go strawberry picking. Sara was taking the SAT in the morning, so in the afternoon it would be. It wasn't quite as hot that day, so later on would work out just fine.
Larriland is a comfortable 35 minute drive from our house, and even though I knew it would be crowded (it was), it was familiar and accessible. They listed the picking only as fair that day (an accurate assessment) and we got a little lost trying to follow the signs to the new strawberry field up the road from the main farm, but only for a minute. Just remember to look for this:
I was a little disappointed by the crowds, mostly because I would rather be by myself, but certainly there were enough berries for us all.
As our reward, we headed to Soft Stuff Ice Cream Stand for cool swirls of simple, creamy perfection, some dipped in chocolate, some turned into floats, and some twisted onto cones.
It just felt nice to be all together in the same place.
Last night it happened again. The togetherness way. What was going to be a busy night with everyone going in different directions turned into a lovely surprise dinner with Eric's sister and brother-in-law, unexpectedly in town for a conference. The fact that they live far away made it an easy decision to ditch all other plans and focus on family. We headed down to the National Harbor and ate at Grace's, an upscale Asian-fusion kind of place with fantastic bathrooms and a HUGE wall of windows that allowed us to look out right onto the Potomac and the beautiful setting sun.
Evan, my picky eater, ordered and miraculously ATE duck (we were hoping it might come out like the one in A Christmas Story, and we might have sung a chorus or two of FA RA RA RA RA..., but it was just nice tidy cutlets.) and Sara, my ever-adventurous eater, conquered this denizen of the bay: a whole rockfish. We spent almost as much time photographing her posing with it as she did eating it-hilarious!
So, thank you to Bob and Cheryl for figuring out that you weren't going to be way down in VA, but just down the road. It was great to see you both and spend the evening all together!
Now, onto today. In contrast...Lots going on. A more usual kind of Saturday for us. Swim meet, kids off on outings, meetings for church and all the rest. We will hardly see each other, but it's okay. It's all good stuff that we're doing, and I'm glad that we have the balance of days to play and days to work. My stomach is all tied up in knots right now because swim meets make me generally nervous, but once I get there and get my job figured out, I'll feel better. Some of us will be busier than others, but we'll all keep in touch and even though there won't be many moments of togetherness during the day, we all come home in the night and we all wake up here in the morning and this is still home and that is what matters.