She walked in, glowing.
She hugged everyone with so much love flowing from her heart that we didn’t want to let go.
As I watched, I was overtaken with emotion. I held in the tears, I thought. They didn’t fall down my cheeks, but they watered my eyes.
She walked over to me and said, “you look like you are ready to cry!” I told her why, and she cried. And then I cried. And then everyone who saw us crying, cried.
It was in that moment that I realized how much love this big crazy family has for each other.
Our love gets lost sometimes. It gets mixed up in the busy, and feels distant with the miles we have to travel for those hugs. It feels far away until those hugs round it up again. If we gathered up all of the love, and tried to bundle it into the biggest Santa Jan bag, it would burst at the seams.
Christmas at my grandparents house was the event we looked forward to all year. The aunts, uncles, and cousins eagerly gathered to celebrate. It was never about the gifts under the tree. The memories we share include laughter, love, hugs, lectures we hated hearing but took to heart and allowed to shape us.
The aunts and uncles would smile, and actually look excited to see us, when we arrived. The cousins would jump up and down, eager to play outside in the driveway, on the hill, “accidentally” adventuring over the forbidden hill in the creek at the bottom, in the basement under the stairs, on the slot machines with Grandpa’s quarters, or just be.
My aunt kept all of that tucked inside over the years. She knew she was missing it all those years, and did whatever it took to join us this year.
The tears we couldn’t control were evidence of the love we share.
I wouldn’t trade anything for