You know that point in your life when you realize that the house you grew up in isn’t really your home anymore?…Maybe that’s all family really is: a group of people that miss the same imaginary place.
– Zach Braff as Andrew Largeman, Garden State
They say that nobody knows you like family and last weekend I went back to mine for a few days.
On Thursday evening we packed up and headed northwest to Fresno where I have a lot of relatives including five nieces and one nephew. Arriving Friday morning gave us three full days to spend with everyone.
It had been over a year since the last time I was there to see the kids and this was my first opportunity to meet the twins. They’re the youngest at the moment, but won’t be for long since there’s another niece on the way (scheduled to arrive sometime after Thanksgiving).
The first wave came Friday afternoon with a gathering at my aunt’s house.
Within minutes the house filled with people, chaos and food. It’s an atmosphere familiar from childhood holidays and one that I’ve missed much more than I expected to since moving to Arizona. A few things have changed – now I’m one of the tall people juggling dishes and kids instead of one of the little ones getting underfoot – but the sweet sense of belonging was the same that day and the next.
The kids are all water babies – they adore the ocean, spend hours in pools and flip like dolphins.
Saturday afternoon found me back by a pool full of splashing and giggling, amazed at how much energy kids can maintain for hours – and loving every moment of it.
Far from being tired as dusk darkened the sky, the girls switched from the backyard to the front yard and raced tiny cars up and down the looping driveway in silly scenes too fast for my phone to capture during fading light. (though yes – I tried anyway!)
Finally, far too soon on Sunday evening it was time to pack up our own car again and head south – back to the sun and heat and relative solitude of Arizona.