July is usually known for celebrations of our independence. I’m not sure how old I was before I realized that all the fireworks and the picnics weren’t in celebration of my birthday on the 5th. Just kidding, I am glad to share a birthday with such a noble institution as this great country of ours. This year is a milestone for me and I was not sure how my actual birthday would be spent but I knew that I was excited about the significance of having had 49 of these days prior to this one. I was going to be celebrating 5 decades of living life on the 5th of July!
My brother, Terry and lovely wife, Danelle and their two kiddos, Katie and Alex had come to visit us earlier in the year for Easter and had said they wanted to come back this summer. We thought how terrific that would be but weren’t sure it could happen. As time passed, the plan was falling into place. They were coming for the 4th of July and my birthday! The scope was expanding as well; my Mom and Dad, also known as Grandma El and Papa, were bringing their coach and loading up ‘the crew’ from Iowa. I was thrilled as you might imagine. Company! People I love coming to share a celebration, how cool is that?!
The party expanded even more two days before their expected arrival. Terry’s twin, Ted, was supposed to come from Ohio as a surprise. Everyone had decided to hide him in Mom and Dad’s coach and not tell me he was coming until he walked out onto my driveway. Well, Ted’s family decided at the last minute, he couldn’t come without them! They all wanted to come as well. I got a late night call from Mom two days before they were to come, ‘could I sleep 13 in my house or should they look for a hotel?’ Those of you who have been to our house are probably chuckling now as we have ONE extra bedroom. This house doesn’t have the ‘bed and breakfast’ size of our Indianola house.
Our God is such a good Daddy, though, and He knew what our needs were. Our gracious, wonderful neighbors were going out of town for 10 days for their own family get together. The next morning before leaving, they handed us the keys to their house and said, ‘what is ours is yours. Use it as you need!’ We were astonished and so grateful! Everyone could be right here together…….the coach (Mom and Dad’s ‘house’) in front of our house, the house across the street open to us with an additional 3 bedrooms and 2 baths! Life is good! His blessings abound.
The caravan arrived late that night with all the weary travelers looking for beds. Ted, his family, and his son’s family with a 3-month-old baby had been on the road for over 24 hours! There had been mechanical failure and electrical fires but they were all here safe and sound. What a joy!!
Over the next three days we ate, hiked Pancake Rocks, drove to the top of Pikes’ Peak, ate, laughed, watched movies, ate, sang on the patio with Terry, ate, made a guys only trek to the hobby store, ate, enjoyed sharing worship together at New Life Church, and talked. It was a wonderful, although too short, time of fellowship.
I was humbled to have everyone make such a huge effort to be with me and celebrate. Sitting at dinner on my birthday and looking around the table was such an awesome experience! We have not had that many of us together for 5 years and it was long overdue! I will not forget the love in the faces of those gathered there. It was grand to share in the lives of my nieces and nephews and to be introduced to my great niece, Yasmin!
That was an additional celebration of sorts, getting Yasmin together with her extended family for the first time. She is the first of the next Taylor generation! Grandma Bonnie and Grandpa Ted, now there is thought to ponder, the youngest of us becomes a grandparent first, not fair!
Bonnie, Mike, Fran, and Jenny we MISSED you! Each of you brings something that no one else can bring to a family event. Our hope is that we can ALL be together before another 5 years passes so quickly! Thank you again, Dear family…I was and am still honored.