Blending Families, Making Memories and Finding Purpose
This week my husband and I traveled to a small lakeside community in Ohio to celebrate his brother’s wedding. We had heard so much about the Huron, Ohio community and the small town charm but wasn’t sure what to expect. Initially our plan was to stay in a local hotel and hopefully spend time with extended family at some point during the weekend. After receiving an email inviting us to share a lake house together we cancelled our reservations and prepared for a busy weekend concluding with welcoming a new sister in law to the family clan.
After nearly eight hours in the car we arrived at our destination and quickly discovered that graciousness and hospitality is not just a characteristic of the south. Our first blessing came when we realized the owners of the lake house offered it to our family free of charge. This beautiful fully furnished home was ours for the weekend and the only request from the owner was to pay it forward by making a monetary donation to the local food bank or the cancer research fund. Who doses this? Who decides to purchase a home to share it with complete strangers? Kind, caring, gracious people that’s who!
As we prepared for the rehearsal reception and the meeting of the bride’s family once again we were unsure what to expect. Walking into the yacht club it was obvious that it wasn’t just our family welcoming a new sister in law and step-mother; their family was opening their lives and hearts to us as well. With greetings of hugs and “oh I have heard so much about you!” the room quickly turned into a great big living room filled with laughter, joy, love and family. At the center of this great gathering was my brother in law and his bride to be. As “seasoned” adults their lives are filled with old friends, extended families and stories of experiences that brought them to this place in their life journey. There is a difference when a young couple gets married than when older couples do I think. Maybe it’s because life experiences have brought about a sense of clarity on matters that once clouded the hearts vision. Maybe the realization that a lifetime is not an infinite amount of time and that making each moment matter becomes higher on our list of life priorities. No matter the reason the distinction of young love, and dreams of babies and life building and that of second chances, maturity and clearer life vision is evident; neither more important than the other.
It’s the big day. Stepping outside we made the short trek through the sleepy little neighborhood as the sun prepared to make its descent. My beautiful soon to be sister emerged from her “hiding place” with her handsome father at her side; she was ready to meet her fella and begin their life journey. The ceremony was beautiful; filled with thought and profound purpose. Tears spilled as the bride’s mother took her seat and the bride was delivered to her waiting groom as the waves of Lake Erie gently kissed the shore. Laughter filled the air as the groom declared “I do! I do! I do!” and hearts skipped a beat as a bald eagle soared in the sky above ; a gift I believe from my in laws as they watched through the holes in the floor of Heaven.
The reception, our first dinner as one large family quickly turned into a fun filled party with glow sticks, flip flops, old music and an impromptu serenade by a son to his beautiful momma. Standing in the shadows I watched old friends and new family help write the first chapter of this new life story. Catching a glimpse of my oldest niece rest in the arms of her brother and knowing that this newness in their life is an adjustment my heart filled with pride at the adults they have become. Both recent newlyweds themselves, they too have brought families together and started life journeys of their own.
It’s Sunday morning, the air is crisp, the party is over, our bags are packed, and we’ve said our farewells. Climbing in the car with my husband at the wheel I reflect on the journey of our nearly 24 years of married life and give thanks for the many chapters we’ve written in our life book. I look forward to writing many more chapters that will include memories of this weekend and those yet to come.
Our lives are meant to be lived in communion with one another. We were created to have relationships that include friends and family. It is our responsibility to fill our lives with meaningful relationships that bring meaning and purpose not only to our lives but those around us. I look forward to the future and being part of this newly formed family and seeing what lies ahead of us.
I give thanks for the love in my life, the families to share it with, the past that has brought us to the present and the future and all it holds. I encourage you to fill your life book with chapters full of memories that not only bring great joy but meaning to the world around you. For me I am thankful for all of my family; the old, the new and those yet to be.
I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
Got a wedding coming up? We have tips on how to plan a wedding on a budget!