Moments of joy

You ever fall in love with your kids all over again???

When you live day-to-day life, it’s hard to appreciate what’s going on, because you are so far buried IN it, that you don’t have time to LOOK at it!

Well, yesterday I pried myself away from the computer to convene for family Thanksgiving at the in-laws.  It would be our family, Chris’ sister and her two sons (age 14 and 7?) and Chris’ other sister and a brother-in-law.  The first order of business was to hand over the phones to the butler downstairs (I think his name is James, but all I heard was surrender your phone or die).

I handed over the phone and sat on the couch to actually visit (with eye contact) with family and friends.  At the in-laws house, it’s an open invitation.  Anyone who doesn’t have a home is invited.  There are always some friends of my in laws that come over.  In this case, it was some friends that my kids haven’t seen in years and chances are they wouldn’t remember them.  Not only would they be ‘new’ to my kids; but they were bringing their aunt who was new to me too.

When they got there, we gave greetings and sat down to visit.  I remember them, so conversation was easy.  But they were new to my kids.  I was surprised off the bat, because Aspen came up to meet and shake hands with them and was easily comfortable talking to them.

I see so many kids who are awkward talking to adults.  They have no interest and rarely make efforts of any sort – especially with someone who is new and unfamiliar to them.  However I was kind of surprised at the ease of my children.

Marge was new to me.  She was the aunt of my mother in-laws lifelong friend.  She was a lovely woman and very easy to talk to.  As there is no TV or any electronic distractions; conversation is the entertainment of choice when visiting for Thanksgiving.  However, there is a room downstairs chalk full of games for the kids to play – if they so choose.  And the littlest one opted for the downstairs as he is familiar with the ‘game room’.   Avery followed him down too as she gravitates toward the younger ones.  However, both girls were up and down quite a bit.

As I sat on the couch, I saw Marge, sitting at the dinner table all by herself.  It was a random moment; just a few minutes earlier she was talking to my mother in law.  As I glanced over, I saw Aspen walk over to the table, sit down and start talking to Marge (who is probably in her 70’s or early 80’s).  Aspen started folding a piece of paper and talking with Marge as if it was someone she has known forever.

Now…you have to admit….as a mom, I was touched by my daughters approach to this woman.  She had every excuse to go downstairs and be with the kids.  But she chose to engage….. and with someone she just met.

She sat with Marge for quite a few minutes.  I could tell that Marge was helping her fold her paper and they were both quite involved in their conversation.  I have no idea what was going on around me at that moment, because my heart was bursting from my chest.

Later that night; the littlest Cunningham grandchild was done with everyone.  Done with the people, the conversations, the games, you name it.  Avery was up talking with us at one point and I heard Cameron (14) playing the piano downstairs.  If you want your heart to sing; you need to hear this boy play.  Truly amazing, gifted – and creates as he plays.  I snuck down to record him.

As I was downstairs, Avery came in and saw her cousin in his dismay.  This didn’t set well with her, so she went over and talked to him.  Keep in mind, his message to everyone was “Don’t look at me”, so he wanted no attention from anyone.  But I watched Avery weave her magic; pick him up, put him on the bed and listen to his story about why he was unhappy.  She wasn’t going to let this child sit in a corner unhappy.  Soon, he was on her back and they were playing.  She pulled him out of his funk.

I can’t tell you the pride I felt witnessing my kids and their sheer compassion.  I did my best to photograph the night; but the truth is, I will never be able to totally capture what I saw.  I am so thankful for who these young ladies are becoming.  They reach out to others with no thoughts and no regrets.  They just do it.

I always wondered what it would be like to be a fly on the wall.  Yesterday, I got the chance not once…but twice!  I am truly blessed and totally proud!

Happy Friday!


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