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Family Matters: Family

FamilyIn the blink of an eye, I was transported back to childhood: my teenage years, to be exact.

I walked into the bedroom I was sharing with my sister on our annual beach trip, when 22 of us crowd into one house with a handful of bathrooms and have fun for a week. Her stuff was all over my side of the dresser, and my clothes were flung across the (small) space between the two beds crowded into the room.

Déjà vu.

While we never actually shared a room growing up, my first instinct was to screech, “MOOOOOMMMMMM, Beth’s stuff is all over my side of the room.”

Then, I realized that it was NOT. A. BIG. DEAL.

We see each other ONCE a year.

She lives in Virginia. My parents live in Virginia. My two brothers and their families live in Virginia. My other sister and her family live in California. We hardly ever see each other.

The week at the beach is probably the closest thing to heaven on earth I can imagine. We’re all together, in one house, at our favorite place in the universe with the people we love most.

Yes, someone is always in the bathroom when you need to use it. There is always someone using the one square foot of available kitchen counter space. You couldn’t sleep late if you tried, and the amount of stuff we haul to the beach each day would make Mayflower proud.

However, we sure do laugh a lot. Loudly. There’s always someone to go jump waves with you or to dig a sandcastle. There’s always someone who will pour you a drink or grab the water bottle you forgot when they go back up to the beach house. There’s always an extra pair of eyes on your children playing in the surf and an extra set of ears to listen to the stories your friends back home are tired of hearing. There’s a lot of extra love in that house.

So many of my friends’ families have lost touch with each other. They’ve fought. They’ve moved away. They’ve let the stuff on their side of the dresser get in the way.

So, I am thankful.

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