Sunday, May 10, 2015

The glue.

When my brother Tommy comes to Minnesota, we get together.  We do dinners and BBQ's, golf outings and brunches.  It's such a great excuse to get together and he's so good about wanting to have time with the family, and the kids especially, love it.  They love it even more when he brings Jenna. 

The thing about Minnesota is that it brings families together.  Uncle Charl and Kat live here but with the busyness of all of our schedules its hard to get together, so when Tommy comes to Minnesota we get to see Charl and Kat even more too.  After our week in Florida last year, Uncle Charl and Kat had the kids smitten, and well, they have been ever since.

Neither brother of mine is in the same phase of life as we are, but I'm in awe at how wonderful they are with my kids.  My kids adore them.  And those big boys are so good to them.  My brothers and I haven't always been close, and we certainly haven't always gotten along, we're siblings.  But I admire and think the world of these two men.  They have grown up and worked hard and I am so proud of who each of them has become, using his own strengths, interests and talents to do what he loves.

It would be easy to look to the past with regrets.  Regrets of sibling rivalries, harsh words, and mean spirited actions that would have been easily justified and defended in the heat of the moment or just sibling stuff.  But when I think back to our childhood, I don't look back with regret, what-ifs and if only.  I need only watch my children and the way they look at each other to know that the love I have for my brothers runs deep.  Always has, always will. 

We're all grown up now, and I have an even deeper appreciation for them, and the role they play in my kids lives.  Showing up for stuff, encouraging them, playing with them and doting on them.  I can only hope they continue to be an instrumental part in my kids lives, especially as they move into their teenage years, and need Uncles to give them advice that I can't.

I also pray that as my kids grow up, in the midst of fighting over the bathroom, who gets the car keys and whatever other sibling battles come up, that they continue to love each other, support each other, look out for one another and as they enter adulthood, that they have a new and fresh appreciation for each other as people.

But neither my brothers, nor Minnesota is what holds us all together. None of that is what holds us all together, none of that plans our get togethers and none of them are the person everyone goes to, to find out how the others are.  None of them are the glue.  The glue of our family is our mother.  And since today is a day to celebrate that, I have three very important mothers that I get to celebrate. 

I look to my mom, my step-mom, and my mother-in-law for different things, but all are extraordinary women, with amazing talents, unique gifts and all love us and our kids more than words.
They babysit, make us food, have us over for dinners, show up for the kids and pray for us.

The kids do see them quite often, so it is understandable that they would feel comfortable with and love them, but they seem to have some sense beyond that.  A bond.  A bond between grandmothers and grandkids.  They are making memories now by which they will forever remember these lovely ladies.

They will tell stories that begin, "My Grandma..."  "My Nani...." "My Meme...."

The kids faces light up in a very special way knowing they are headed to Meme's, to Nani's or to Grandmas.  They never want to leave. 
I know this stage in life will not last forever.  But I will continue to pray that the grandmas will continue to be relentless in their involvement in our kids lives.  That our kids have deep and meaningful relationships with them, that they always feel they have someone safe to go to with anything.

I love you so much, Mom, Sig and Shelley. I now know about all of the countless, thankless things that you do during a day to help everyone else.  I have felt the exhaustion of a day filled with nothing but making sure everyone is fed, clean and rested.  I appreciate what you have done for me, Nate and our kids.  I hope you feel celebrated today, because you spend most of the time making sure everyone else feels celebrated.  You deserve it.

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