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Sunday, November 13, 2011


There's a special word in German that always reminds me of family: the word 'behueten' (be-HOOT (with a raised lower jaw)-en) means something like protect, nuture and comfort all at once, a bit like that feeling you get when a fuzzy week-old kitten or baby rabbit is nestling within the palms of your cupped hands - you take extra-special care to hold it carefully, keeping it warm without squeezing it too hard, holding it safely with awestruck wonder. A few days ago, I got back from a perfect visit to my family, full of that feeling of 'behueten', where we celebrated my mom's 80th birthday and I thought I'd share some of the things that made it magical:
- my youngest two really enjoying lots of time with Grandmom and Grandpop, both indoors and out, while playing, dining, watching movies, going for walks, doing yardwork or helping Grandpop repair things around the house;
- having magnificently golden weather (after the slight snowstorm glitch on our arrival in Philadelphia);
- celebrating my own birthday with my parents once again and being delighted with my lovely new necklace and bracelet that I bought from Dora;
- spending time with each of my siblings, their spouses, kids, sons-in-law and a granddaughter;
- being creative by making the name cards for the place settings and the centerpiece (which I sadly forgot to photograph) and singing a 3-part reworded 'Mom' version of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy for the party;
- enjoying a warm, family-centered, wonderful party to celebrate my mom's big day, and
- having plenty of relaxed time just to be with my parents.

Some feelings I have now that I'm again an ocean away from my family:
- They will always be in my heart.
- I spent 10 whole days immersed in my family and completely forgot any demands that were awaiting me at home. I didn't have anything dire hanging over my head, but that release was still a glorious feeling.
- This visit was so very special, and it makes me resolved to getting over to my family more than once a year.
- Along with this resolution, I am already making a whole set of other resolutions: more contact with dear ones, straighten up my crafting supplies (half done!), doing art projects with my little two and spending more time reading to and working with them, delving into craft projects myself from the many books that I have and blogs that I've bookmarked besides trying my hand at some original projects, organizing things on my computer... well, the list goes on! So much to do and it makes life so exciting!

It is such a blessing to have a loving family, and a large one is particularly nice. I am so thankful to my parents for all they've done, raising the 5 of us and inspiring me to have six kids of my own.

In a way, my great distance from home is a good thing: my siblings spend a few hours when they visit, coming from their nearby homes and going back there afterwards, whereas my children and I actually live with my parents each time I'm in the USA: we wake up to the smell of coffee already brewing, decide on meals and activities for the day and in the evening we go upstairs to bed with kisses and a Waltons Good-Night ritual. Good night Grandmom and Grandpop. Good night Helene and Christopher. Good night Mom and Dad. Good night Janice.