I’m just coming off a wonderful week with our family. Instead of the usual two of us, the house filled with eleven more people — five adult children/spouses, and six grandchildren aged four months to nearly ten. For most of the week, we had warm autumn weather, allowing us to extend our interactions onto the deck and into the back yard. We played boce ball, put up a tent, swung on a rope swing, and jumped in leaves. The kids had planned a number of special activities such as an egg drop competition (teams tried to wrap a raw egg so it would survive ever higher drops) and pumpkin carving. We went to Birds Hill for a wiener roast and kite flying. Inside we read and played games and visited and ate.
I confess I’m always reluctant to get too buttery in my expressions around family life, lest they mask both its inherent challenges and its true splendor. But I’m so deeply grateful for this family, for each one in it, and for the relationships we enjoy. These (now) twelve other people are truly the best gifts to me, over and over. And not just in what they give me in their love and kindness, but also in what I see them giving each other.
Among the many Steve Jobs quotes circulating recently was one concerning children and how they carry your heart with them. “It’s your heart,” he said, “running around outside your body.” For one week, my heart beat extra hard here in our place. Now, as the children return to their routines in B.C. and Ontario and we return to ours, it beats more quietly, but re-invigorated with the exercise of being together, and being together well.