When asked about his greatest achievement in life, George Bush answered, “That my children still want to come home to visit.”
My parents can boast of the same success. Having four married daughters, all with children now, my parents have made it easy and enjoyable for us to visit for holidays and vacations.
We had been planning to spend about a week with my parents, tying up loose ends for this trip before heading north to our “first stop,” Mt. Rushmore. But we were pleasantly surprised to find that two of my sisters with their kids would also be joining us from out of town. The crazy part was that we all crashed at my parents’ home, invading every nook and cranny of their house. And the even wilder part was that none of us felt crowded out.
My other sister spent a couple afternoons and a night with us as well, so there were often seven adults and seven kids from 11 mths to 11 years all under one roof. We’d take turns entertaining the toddlers, cooking dinner, or cleaning up after recurring messes. It was pretty fluid and fun. Every day was full.
Two of my favorite days were spent at local swimming pools, complete with water slides and lazy river. We loved watching the little ones splash in the water and the mama’s take a turn on the water slides. I was even able to squeeze in some laps for exercise, which is always a treat.
I was so proud, watching all of my sisters as mommies. They were patient and loving, much more relaxed than I was as a new mom. You could easily tell that their little boys and girl were happy and secure.
And I was also proud of my mom to just live comfortably in our chaos. She learned a great mantra, “Just let it go,” when she had to trust that the dishes would get washed at some point instead of “now.” She was helpful to all of us in every way, holding and feeding toddlers and cooking delicious meals for us all. She was such a blessing to our family in particular, sewing up some “mummy bags” for us out of our microfiber sheets, and fitting some new skirts and shorts for our kids to wear.
My dad even took the kids on a bike ride one evening and BBQ’d another night at a park, complete with a pinata for all the kids (little and big) to hit.
It was a blast. I knew that after that time, it would really feel like we were “leaving for a year,” and it did. They sent us off with hugs and kisses, smiles and waves. We will miss them all, but are so, so thankful for those memorable days together.