See, all my life, I hoped it would be my house hosting the cook-out. My husband manning the grill. My kids running around being spoiled by everyone else. Dogs in the backyard. Dishes in the sink. But things just didn't work out that way.
Most days, I'm fine. I have a career that I am truly passionate about. I have a roof over my head and money to keep the lights on. I have good friends. Sometimes, though, when I've had a fairly terrible day at work, I want someone to tell my troubles to, to take my hand when I am afraid, to pick me up when I fail, to share my successes -- big or small, to hug, to hold. So, there are moments, and I'm not proud to say this, when I dread the wonderment and beauty of others joy.
But not tonight. No. Tonight is not one of those nights. Tonight is one of the nights that I don't come home empty and envious, but rather I am fulfilled. Because these are the people I love. These are the people who talk me off the ledge, feed me when I am hungry, celebrate me even through my shortcomings, laugh at my jokes, dry my tears. They shelter me from the storms of my past and wait patiently for the next clear and crisp dawn. They share their holidays and homes and children and joy, and all they ask in return is to love them back. And what's not to love?
|Auntie LJ and Baby Brooklyn.|
|Chris and Elliott|
|Heather and Marcus. The giggles are totally contagious|
|Best dressed at the cook-out. By a landslide.|
|Kathy -- totally enjoying the fact that her kids are grown, and now it's time to spoil everyone else's kids.|
|Note to self: don't leave my phone unattended around Chris.|
|Elliott with some frisbee skills.|
|Sweet Brooklyn and her beautiful mama, Courtney|
|Every cook-out is significantly improved by tractor rides with Pat.|
|When tired of playing frisbee, use said frisbee to "pan for gold".|
This. This is me. Everything I was, everything I still hope, everything and everyone that I choose. It's me. And for tonight -- at least for tonight -- I am enough.