I write about my family a lot. We’re a bold, boisterous group and we spend an ample amount of time together, namely at our grandparents’ home. My grandparents have lived in their colonial style house for three decades. It’s cholk full of fond childhood memories. Before family dinners we’d roam through trails in the state park behind the house or peek through Nannie’s illustrious closets. My sister, cousins and I would have sleepovers on her floor and keep her up until ungodly hours. You know, the good stuff! As for Papa, he rules the roost from his jean-blue chair in the family room. Every Christmas Eve about thirty of us gather around to steal food off each others plates and exchange gifts, always resulting in an inevitable wrapping paper explosion. Papa hands the kids a stack of dollar bills. Such endearing chaos.
A few weekends ago we delighted in the chaos once again, call it “summer edition.” We had a wedding.
My cousin Mark married his girlfriend of more than 7 years, Amanda. And that day something really fantastic happened. Winding through each doorway, you could find a relative in total game-day mode, attending to their ceremony duties. My Aunt Susan, the Officiant a.k.a. Judge, my mom – the mistress of ceremonies, my Aunt Cathy – the florist, my sister Holly – music coordinator, my cousin Catherine and her husband Billy – overseers of the flower brigade (their kids and our cousin Addie), and the list goes on.
This home, more so now than ever, became a testament to what we’ve helped one another through and the good times we’ve celebrated. It was as if each room was a living facet of the experience, tying together our intricately woven past with a new chapter: Mark and Amanda’s ever-promising future. Hint, the couple recently announced they are expecting! The picture shown above is especially perfect, as it’s tradition on holidays for each family (we’ve got 5 of them and counting) to sit for a photograph on the living room sofa. Here’s their first.
The girls got ready in my personal favorite, I call it the “toile room.” One Christmas Nannie threw us younger girls a tea party in there, decorated by the largest ginger bread house ever. Know Lee’s jealous she wasn’t in attendance!
Meet the flower brigade: Matilda, Addie, and Liam, holding it down on the front step. Catch a glimpse of Amanda and her sweet dad behind them!
Here in the back yard we have the ceremony complete with some typical dysfunction.
“Markie” and I are two years apart and have always been close. He’s happily fulfilled the role of obnoxious older brother, pinning me in painful wrestling moves during Thanksgiving dinners and such. I gotta love him, especially when looking at these photos.
Speaking of photos, could these get ANY better? Meet Kathryn Whitworth, former Interior Designer turned freelance photographer. Our family is crazy about her and her work. We like to bring ones like Kathryn around for keeps. Initially, my cousin Patrick is in charge of laying down the charm and then it’s an utter whirlwind from there.
Smiles all around. I’m a fan of the smaller wedding parties. Mark chose his dad and brothers along with a best friend of his, Justin, to stand by him. I think these pictures tell it all: everything turned out perfectly!
Here’s one of the best moments of the evening. During his toast, Mark thanked Nannie and Papa for their love, support, and hospitality. I’m here adoring my grandmother as usual. And look at Billy, smiling at her. I wish I could tell you all of their great stories, but we’d be here forever.
In summary, I’d like to give a toast myself: To a family and a home that have helped define my daily perspective, my goals, and my values. Take credit for all of my redeeming qualities and none of my bad ones! ;-) Simply, I love you!
In honor of our families, let’s reach out to those ones affected by the Colorado shooting. Here’s a link if you want to find a way to help.
Love as always,