I was so excited on the Thursday afternoon I felt like squealing!
We were to pick Ren up at the airport at 5.30 am Friday morning. Damen and his family would arrive that afternoon and Tara and her family in the evening and Chee and his family from Christchurch flying in Saturday morning. With Simone already living here, it would be full house and the first time in two years all our babies would be together. Eleven adults and eleven children. More poignant perhaps as we watched Damen’s recovery by Skype and email and texts. Now we would be together for real.
Spot the difference?
Simone and I had planned a menu for the weekend, filled the fridge, readied the beds and linen. Simone had filled the cake tins and pre-prepared the snacks. Gilbert had checked the BBQ gas and having been busy purchasing on ‘Trade Me’, was now using every garden tool known to man, for perhaps the first time in his life. “Whats that noise?”, I asked Simone. “Dads weed eating the edges again”. The kids ran to the window. Why is he ‘eating the weeds’, they wanted to know looking for him. “Whats he doing now?” I asked Simone. “Hes got a blower thing and he’s blowing a few leaves off the deck”, Simone laughed. “We should invite people over more often, she said passing me in the hall. He’s replaced bulbs and is now fixing the french door hinges”. Yay! I thought. We had invited extended family over for a summer BBQ and while it had rained steadily for days we were confident it would clear and thank-somebody’s God, it did.
A Sunday walk
It cleared to reveal an absolutely beautiful afternoon meaning we could sit outside, sip our favourite drink and watch the children play, while Chee and Willie manned the BBQ for a constant roll out of nibbles.People had starting coming in the afternoon and we started the BBQ at five. I had wanted a rolling dinner. Kind of like a tapas selection and I think it was perfect!
Kids are making a ‘pretend’ fire.
Waving the last family goodbye four days later and spending the next two hours vacuuming up bits of food and throwing washing down the laundry stairs, we were all back tidy again by eight. It will be another two years I suspect and another couple of members will have perhaps joined the fold.
Lots of laughing and crying, encouraging and scolding, cooking and cleaning and just being family. Each moment savoured, being so very aware that while we are whole now, for a moment in time, we very nearly weren’t.