I had an idyllic childhood; I always felt safe and encouraged, but also knew that there were rules and expectations to follow. My immediate family; parents and sisters, was filled with love, laughter, and memories. The significant part of my childhood and development that I wanted to include was something that greatly contributed to the person I was learning to be.
I was blessed (beyond belief) to have all four grandparents well into my twenties. And from there, I also had aunts, uncles, and cousins that were daily participants in my life. When we slept over at our grandparents' house, it wasn't just my sisters and I - but more often than not a whole group of the grandkids at once. I understood from a very, very young age that family was something I was abundantly blessed with.
Family was not just the immediate group that lived in our home, family was my cheering section; those people rooting for my life.
And boy, have I been blessed with a cheering section. One that has managed to out-cheer and out-number any negativity that might try to intimidate me in the path of life.
To this day, I still feel this way. We regularly spend holidays with extended family, they attend celebrations and parties for my kids, send us snail mail, and organize traditions to do all together. And Brandon and I want our kids to know and feel that they have family (people that love, support, and are invested in them) that far extend just our immediate family.
We have such a great, fun time at the family reunions; playing with cousins, catching up on everyone's lives, eating awesome food and desserts - many times supplied by family members. But quite honestly, to try to speak to the magnitude of gratitude and blessings I feel about our family and reunions is impossible.
The Uzelac reunion: we attend as legacy of my grandma (my Mom's mom). My grandma was one of fourteen, ten of whom are still with us today. The kids got their faces painted, played in the bouncy houses and chased their cousins around all day. Brandon and Grey were in their glory to participate in the home run derby (both three times!), and the big kids were even brave enough to attempt a try at singing in the talent show (Florida-Georgia Line's 'Cruise') which they were thankfully saved by their Aunt Uch when they got a little stage fright-y midsong!
In the words of Greyson as we were leaving each reunion this summer, "Can we please come here again to play with our family?"
to my grandparents in heaven,
i miss you every single day.