Family Hugs

If you have followed my series ‘Confessions of a Middle-Age Mom’, then you know that I have camped out at my sister’s house for the last four days.  Her willingness to let me and my kids stay at her house for free is what made it possible for me to bring my kids to the One Direction concert.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to afford the road trip and the motel stay.  So I am forever in her debt for that kind gesture.

But what she gave me the last four days is more than a floor to sleep on and a bath to bathe in.  If you ask my kids, they would say that their aunt also gave us good food to eat, new toys to play with and access to their pool.  But something that my kids might not realize is that my sister and her family has given us so much more.  It’s not a tangible thing that you can pick up.  It’s a feeling that can be relayed through words and actions.  The best way to describe it is the feeling you get when you are embraced in a hug from a loved one.

My older sister and my brother-in-law has blessed my parents with seven grandchildren.  Actually 9 grandchildren when you add my niece’s husband and my brother-in-law’s nephew who we consider part of our family.  Their children’s ages range from 10 to late 20’s.  Yet the vast age difference does not matter.  The little boys are best friends with the big kids.  They are a tight-knit family.

Although my sister only has her three younger boys left at home, the older kids are in town.  With the exception of one of my nieces who is roughing it out as a camp counselor this year…in Hawaii.  Boy, that gig must be pretty sweet.  🙂  She is the only one I have not gotten to see on this trip, but I did get to talk to her briefly on the phone.

I had stood there in awe many times this past week, as I watched the older kids stop by to see us and their younger siblings.  The younger boys greet their older siblings like they haven’t seen them in months and when the older kids say goodbye, they hug everyone like this could be the last time they see them.  That gives me such a warm feeling inside.

Don’t get me wrong, I grew up in a house full of love, but I don’t recall this much hugging going on in my childhood.  In fact, this week has made me realize that my immediate family doesn’t hug one another enough.  We hug family when they have come to visit and when we are saying goodbye, but my immediate family is not hugging one another as much as we are yelling at one another.  This is something I will work on changing in the future.

Because I want my kids to be more like my nieces and nephews.  I want my kids to love their siblings so much that they hate to see them grow up and leave our house to make their way in this world.  Not be thankful that their sibling has finally moved out so they can take over the space.  I want my family to be a hugging family too.

Yes, my sister’s family will forever be known as the Hugging Family.  Because that’s what they do, they love one another so much they have to hug each other.  And it’s not just that, they don’t just hug the younger boys and then have nothing to do with them.  They talk with them, they play with them, they help them with things.  They walk back into my sister’s home and take on the role they had in the family as if their beds were still under that roof.  They are not visitors, they are family.  The older kids might have their own place they live at, but they still belong in their parent’s home.

My wish is that my immediate family will be that way too in the future.  That Marie will still feel like she lives at our house, even if she has her own place that she calls home.  That Christopher will look at Marie’s visits as a treat instead of an invasion of his space.  I hope I can get my family to be more of a hugging family now, so that my grandkids can witness this type of bond that my sister’s family has.

I have always been strong on saying “I love you” to my family, but I’m a little weak on my physical expressions of love.  So that is something I am going to try to work on more.  To embrace my kids more, while they are still around, so that they will come back for more once they leave to make a name in this world.

So thank you big sister, for all the many things you have given me this week.  You have not only provided me with a place to lay my head and food to eat.  You did not only help me care for my kids at the concert.  You have taught me some valuable lessons about life that I had overlooked recently.  You have such a wonderful, loving family and I just want to tell you that you and your husband have sown so many wonderful seeds into this world and we are all blessed by your bounty.

Although she can’t tell you in person, I know that Mom is so very, very proud of the family that you have created and the woman who you have become.  And I am very thankful that I have you in this world to file some of the void that Mom’s death has left.  I love you sis, more than words can express.

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