Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Family: It's good to be an out-law

Today is a beautiful October day.  If the weather would just manage to clone itself day after day to be just like today, I would be one happy camper.

Life around the castle has been full.  But then again, when isn't it?

Over the weekend we headed to Ashtabula.  Steve's sister, Kerry, and her husband, Todd, are due with their first baby in about three weeks.  It will be the first new cousin since Carter was born 7 years ago.  To say the kids are bonkers over a new cousin is an understatement.  I think there is already arguing over who gets to hold the baby the most over our November "Thanksmas".

Since Aunt Kerry and Uncle Todd have decided to wait until the birth to know the gender of the baby, we have all been calling it SHIM.  (I find it may be hard to transition over to an actual name now that we have all gotten over the giggles of saying SHIM.)

Gramma and Papa threw a baby hurricane.  (To call it a shower would not be doing justice to the blow out party they threw for SHIM).  It was held at a beautiful restaurant on the shore of Lake Erie, just outside of Cleveland.  If it had been a sunny day (and not the 45 degree rainy mess that it was) we would have had an amazing view of downtown Cleveland.

Steve and his brother, Scott, took the boys to a Science Museum while Olivia and her cousin, Natalie, helped pass the presents at the party.

The weekend wasn't even 48 hours of togetherness (Scott and his family drove 8 hours from northern Michigan to celebrate the baby.)  Because of our 4.5 hour drive and their driving time doubled, we rarely get together outside of the holidays.  I realized as we were packing the car on Friday morning and anticipating an early dismissal of the kids from school that afternoon in order to hit the road for a dinner time arrival, that I wish we all lived a little closer and could do the occasional weekend family thing.

I had a butterflies, this is going to be fun, feeling in my belly Friday morning.  It felt like a fun event and excitement to be with family.  As we drove and passed other families headed somewhere on a late Friday afternoon, I tried to imagine where everyone was headed.  Football games? College kids going home for a weekend?  Parents off to see their kids play a collegiate/high school game?

It occurred to me that most Friday nights I anticipate hitting the couch with comfy pants on, ready to go nowhere.  I like it like that.  But I also realized that I really miss that feeling of "going home."  Even as a 43 year old adult, there is an excited feeling you get to be with family you love and don't see often.  With my parents both being gone 4 and 5 years each, there is no more "home" for me in Toledo.  But it is so awesome when you realize that your husbands' family is truly your family.  In some ways, maybe even better.  In Steve's family, those of us who have "married in" call ourselves the out-laws (rather than the in-laws.)  We have our own identities.  We like each other.  We laugh.  We laugh at each other. (Or maybe they're just laughing at me?? Hmmm...)  We can appreciate each persons unique contribution to the family.

I love that my kids go bananas when they see their cousins.  There is running, yelling, playing, giggling and an occasional fight followed by a time-out.  No one is immune.  There are magical memories being created each time we pull in and out of Gramma and Papa's driveway.  Similar to the magical memories I have of my cousins and my trips to my Granny and Grandpa's house.

Perhaps it is the distance and the rarity of these times that add to the magic.  I realize that these are days to be savored.  A new dynamic will come with a new baby.  It is a welcome change.  The cousins become the "older cousins."  Families evolve and change.  For now, this out-law is just glad to be counted one of them.