120. Exit 147A, the most lovely in the country. I’m home!
119. Safety in travel
118. A chance to see my grandpa one more time
117. Living generations of faithfulness
116. An extended family that loves and accepts me, cares about my life
Confession: Going to family reunions is an education in itself.
You learn amazing things. Like the fact that your mom’s cousin gets goose bumps when God’s knocking, just like you do. Like how to make monster cookie bars, and how to throw together a really sweet and simple ice cream dessert.
- Oreo cookie crumbs with butter
- Butter pecan ice cream
- A drizzle of caramel syrup
- And a generous layer of whipped topping
Like how to ride a 30-foot zip line. Like how your grandma looked at 14, on an old black and white picture. Like Family Dynamics 101, and what happened when your aunt died. Like whose church made the best cookbook. Like maybe you have Native American in your ancestry…
And you learn things that can’t be named or quantified so easily.
Like how much your grandpa has changed, how shadowy he’s getting as he approaches the brink. Like how quickly 30 years pass—I blinked, and me and my cousin hobnobbing as kids transformed overnight into his son and my daughter.
How the young are the hope of the old. How inexorably the unraveling happens, the aging, the slow unlearning. How love sustains you when you get there.
How easily a child reaches across the gap of dementia, making a beloved but out-of-sync old man light up.
How little time we are given.