Overall, it was an awesome trip. And it really made me miss living close to family. Lauren and I aren't near much of our families out here in Virginia. It was so wonderful being surrounded by so many relatives for the weekend. It's a special kind of togetherness that you just can't get anywhere else. For me, having grown up surrounded by family, it's particularly difficult. My family lived with my grandma for several years during my childhood, and even when we moved out, we were just a few blocks away. One set of cousins lived just a short drive from our house, so we always saw them, too. I remember all of us getting together at their old house. The adults would be off talking together, and the kids would be playing in the yard or basement. Some of my best memories as a child were with all the family I grew up with.
I know my stories date me a bit, but I do, in fact, remember the "good ol' days" when families weren't so spread out. My immediate family members (siblings + parents) currently reside in four different states (five if you count where my dad spends half the month for work). Extend that to aunts, uncles and cousins and now you're up to nine states and more than a dozen different cities. In my opinion, that's really unfortunate. Nothing can replace family in someone's life and I've truly been missing spending time with everyone. There's something about starting a family of your own that makes you appreciate it even more and really recognize the importance of being near everyone. We're fortunate enough that Lauren's family has been able to come to visit regularly, but it still makes me sad that Brayden won't be able to just have Grandma and Grandpa stop by for dinner or be babysat by Auntie Cole on a random Thursday.
I would love for Brayden to grow up surrounded by his family. It was so wonderful to spend this weekend with mine and Lauren's family members. From my Uncle who showered Brayden with affection, to my brother who watched football with him, to my youngest niece who couldn't get enough of him... it was just amazing seeing all of the members of my family interact with him in their own special ways. My niece was the cutest. She immediately bonded with Brayden and, although she's only five, she was so comfortable with him and eager to interact with him any way she could. She wanted to hold him, help get him dressed, change his diaper, feed him (I had to politely explain why she couldn't help with that task), and just play with him. She even brought over her pseudo etch-a-sketch to try to "teach the baby to draw." It was adorable when she tried putting the magnetic pen in his hand and moving the toy around the pen so he "drew." (Although, afterwards, she looked at me and regretfully informed me that "he's not very good at drawing.")
|Kendall playing with Brayden|