My family reminds me all of the time how I love having them around.
Last night we had a long-awaited family night. Turned off the cell phones and the computers and just hung out for a while. I'm not someone who tends to get really worked up about most things, but when it's an event that I've been looking forward to for a long time, I tend to get wound pretty tight for those moments. I'm just terrified that they are not going to go well, so I'll get it in my brain that THEY MUST GO WELL.
The kids had a short day of school, so my first task was to keep everyone mellow during the few hours between getting home and heading out to dinner. I expected this to be a major task, but incredibly, the kids all got together and started working on an osmosis project out in the kitchen. Faith was the originator of the experiment, but they all participated. They put water and food coloring into coffee mugs, grabbed different types of paper products (coffee filter, toilet paper, paper towel and a different kind of napkin), put them in the water and watched to see which one soaked up the water and color fastest. It wasn't a fully scientific test, as the water levels weren't the same in all of the mugs and nothing was timed very exactly, but completely separate from me they decided to do this. For like an hour.
Right before we were heading out, one of the dogs got out and decided to take a jog around the neighborhood. He hasn't made a break for it in months, so I totally over-reacted to his escape ten minutes before we were leaving. Deborah helped me run after him and we were able to get him back home right away so we weren't too late to meet Jason up in Morgantown.
The kids had asked to go to Cici's Pizza for dinner and since it had been a long time since we'd been there, we obliged them (plus, their dessert pizza = delicious!). The boys cracked me up, as both James and Christopher probably put away ten pieces of pizza plus whatever desserts they got. It had Jason and I absolutely howling watching these two little guys running back and forth to the buffet.
We came home (after everyone argued about who got to ride in the car with Daddy -- the girls won) and played a game of Apples to Apples Jr. that Megan lent to me (and that I totally need to buy). The game was really fun, but my favorite moment was when the word that we were trying to match was "tame." Christopher was having a hard time placing that word and James said, "You know! The opposite of our family!" While I would say that quiet is the opposite of our family (I hope we're not completely wild and uncivilized!), it still made me laugh.
We then sat down together and watched The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything from Veggie Tales. I had completely missed this movie when it came out and it was very funny. Gotta' love the folks over at Big Idea. Very creative and very fun (though I personally liked the music better from Jonah). Watching the kids clamor over Jason to sit with him just made me happy. Even our 12 year old wanted to give Dad a big hug when she was heading to bed.
Yes, this was just a few hours. Yes, there were some little squabbles along the way. Yes, we will probably have moments later where we ignore one another, are mean to one another, and act like the wild people we are. The kids will grow up and have interests that are different from us and one another. But even then, I am incredibly thankful that I have moments like last night. Time laughing with one another. Time exploring how the world works. Time encouraging someone who wasn't having a very successful time in the game and cheering when she won a round. Time fighting not about a thing, but about who gets to be with a parent. Time curled up together, loving one another. Time as a family.