And I have marvelous friends. This week I've got to spend quite a bit of time with some key friends, people I couldn't imagine loving more or being more comfortable and open with. They've been the greatest blessing of our time spent here in Lindsay--living in the pressure cooker with us, understanding of our flaws while still helping us to become our best selves. I couldn't have asked for anyone better.
And then back to family. Family, wherein I have been so absurdly fortunate. Most people love my family, and with good reason. If you don't know them, trust me, you would love at least a few of them, and likely all of them. My parents are supportive, encouraging, demanding and forgiving. My siblings are hilarious and devoted and fun. They all married wonderful people, and are raising gaggles of wonderful, unique kids. My sisters have been great examples and friends to me--you know how younger siblings reach that age where they're not cute anymore and they're just annoying? I'm sure I must've hit that stage with my sisters, but to their credit, I never knew it. They always included me and often let me tag along or hang out with them when they were with their friends. I always felt like they liked having me around, which meant the world to me, because I thought they were about the coolest girls to ever walk the planet. My brothers were always coming up with some grand adventure or scheme, and their creativity added a lot of excitement (and, in my more sensible moments, fear) to my life. And, being the baby, I never had to deal with what a lot of youngest children do in being seen forever as the baby. As we grew up, they let me grow up, too, and now we're all friends. Pretty fabulous, right?
But then I got Doug's family. I had no idea what I was getting--I didn't meet a single member of his family until a week or two before we got married, and at first it was totally overwhelming for me. They were so different than my own relatively low-key clan: loud, outspoken, emotional. They occasionally would randomly start singing songs together (now that I've been in on a few rounds of that with Billy Joel or Kingston Trio songs, I'm so glad that they do that). It took some adjustments and some learning, but now his sisters are some of my closest friends and I can't imagine my life without them. They're so terribly much fun. They're my sisters. Rachel and Chuck, whose personality types are much more familiar to me, fell into such a natural place as my other dad and my baby sister after Chuck and Katy got married and Doug and I moved here from Hawaii.
All told, there are four people in my life that I think of very explicitly as my parents, and 18 people run through my mind when I picture "brothers and sisters". Those are people that love me and consider me some of their closest family. And that's before I even start counting faithful friends.
And, of course, there is my husband. If I had spent as much time with any other person in the world as I have with him the last six months, it may have ended with me smothering the other person or myself. But I don't feel that way at all--I find myself wishing we could figure out a way to be self-employed so that we could have him at home this much all the time. I think I'll miss him when he has to go back to being at work 8-10 hours every day, and I know his littlest girls will miss him.
Part of the reason I haven't written much the last several months is that in all the stress and fear of the unknown and emotional difficulties swirling around us, I just don't feel much like sharing. Who knows who reads this besides my close friends? It feels strange to me just putting personal things out there into the universe unless there is some universal principle, some lesson, that can be drawn from it. But the other reason is that every time I sit down to write, the words escape me. I can't think or feel anything other than a literally overwhelming gratitude for the people in my life and the great love that surrounds me. Thank you, all of you, for being you and for everything that you are to me. Its hard to imagine a person more blessed than myself.
I consider myself twice blessed, in that I'm happy--and I know it.