Our Memorial Day "festivities" aren't exactly noteworthy to most, but I wanted to mention what a great time I had Monday afternoon.
Thanks to the wind & rain, we had a simple "indoor" BBQ with our good friends & neighbors, the Stewarts, and one of my kids' absolute most favorite people, "Cousin Joleen".
I was so happy Jo came over. I had invited her but with false hopes, because I didn't think she'd actually come. This spring she had been so busy she put beavers to shame, and so I guess I was kind of used to her not really having the time (she's been passing CPA exams left and right). Anyway, like I said, it made my day that she came. We were laughing over dinner about what a love-hate relationship she and I have had over the years. Being "aunt/niece" with birthdays two months apart often times felt more like attending the same grade K-12 with your sister. But as children we loved to play together, especially the days we survived our petty little arguments. I'm sure you can relate. It does sound a lot like a sibling relationship, does it not? And then...ahhh...then we lived together one summer. Boy, was that the straw that broke the camel's back! I think we both wrote pages of the book "101 Ways To Sabotage What Could Have Been a Great Roommate Experience". Seriously, with exception to a couple good memories, I know she'd agree that we both made a lot of mistakes that summer. But the good part is, we can talk about it now. We've admitted we were both in the wrong, and now I'm just thoroughly enjoying her friendship and the beautiful person that she is. I really admire her determination and success she's had in school and now career, and let me tell you...this woman can cook! I've gotten some of the most interesting, but tasty, recipes from "Jo's Kitchen". She's gorgeous, having developed this super-fun, classy sense of style...I asked her yesterday where she finds all her cute clothes! Anyway, thanks for coming, Jo...we had a lot of fun with you!
And then of course, there's the Stewarts. When you move into a new home, one concern you (or at least I) have is always "What will the neighbors be like?" Likewise, I'm sure they were curious just who had moved next door and prayed we weren't ax-murderers or worse, lawyers (just kidding, Shawn!). We feel like we got the real luck of the draw with Shawn and Kami. They are the perfect neighbors in all the right ways: they take care of their house, they take care of their yard, they have children that are not obnoxious, but rather so adorable I could eat them right up! Their two kids and my brood get along famously, which is good because we swap babysitting at least once a month. Thanks to Kami, I've gotten a lot of great advice on how to plant shrubs and flowers, and thanks to Shawn, we've extracted "free" legal advice from him on two separate occasions in less than a year. We'd better be careful not to take advantage of his generosity...he might start timing our phone calls! :) I've called Kami from "the road" before asking her to make sure I shut my garage and it makes me feel good that she's felt able to call me for small favors, too. They had a busy day yesterday, with family activities in the morning, so it felt wonderful that they'd make time for our little BBQ, braving a new recipe I tried (which, thankfully, turned out pretty darn good thanks to our other 5-Star neighbor, Jayme. Thanks, Jayme! The Blue Cheese Burgers were a hit!)
Sunday after dinner, we'd driven the kids up to Hooper to see Brett's grandparents graves. It was a seized opportunity to talk to our kids about them (Halle was only two when they passed away) and also discuss the importance of temples and eternal families. Surprisingly, Halle was genuinely interested in them. I would think a 6 1/2-year old would have rather joined her younger brother on his walk around the cemetery to look at the different flowers, etc. placed by the headstones. Especially since she'd insisted on bringing her new "bug catcher" with us. But once Brett started talking about Grandma and Grandpa Taft, all she wanted to do was sit next to Brett at their gravesite, asking him questions about them, and the occasional question about heaven and the Plan of Salvation. On the way home, we drove by their house (which I'd never seen so I definitely loved seeing the square red-brick home near Roy High School) as well as Brett's maternal grandparents home, which she did remember. "Is that the house I went to where I got to play with the Jack-In-The-Box?" After we got home, her fascination continued. She'd disappeared for a while upstairs, reappearing about fifteen minutes later with a scrapbook page I'd done with Mack and Hazel Taft's pictures on it. "Is this them?" she asked Brett. Then she sat on his lap and asked more questions. It made me think about my own grandparents, and my brother, who have gone on ahead, paving the way for us on the other side, and how richly blessed I am to be tied to spirits with such strength and honor. The best question I'd heard all day was as we were walking to the car at the cemetery. I had mentioned the reason temples were so important was that they made it possible for us to be together forever with people that we love, even people that have already died. In childlike enthusiasm, she stated, "Oh! I get it, Mom! So because Grandma and Grandpa were married in the temple, they got to be together again? And I'll get to meet them some day? And then Wyatt and Carson will get to know them, too? And then I'll get to be with them forever!" I'm so proud that even at her young age, Halle is already grasping the significance of a noble heritage and the importance of making that connection with those that have gone on before!
So there's our Memorial Day weekend in a nutshell. Nothing earth-shattering, but leaving us at the end of the day feel extremely blessed to have certain people in our lives.
Hope yours was memorable, too!
P.S. If you've noticed the time, don't be alarmed. Between Wyatt's last awakening and my flu-like symptoms, I decided it wasn't getting me anywhere tossing and turning in bed. Now that I've been up twenty minutes, I'm ready to go back to sleep. So mission accomplished!