The past year flew by so quickly, can't believe it's over!
The year began with my husband moving a thousand miles away for work but ended up with him being able to spend Christmas with all of us here.
For the first time in over five years we were doing well enough to actually enjoy Christmas and give gifts without worrying about how we'd pay for them.
TJ and his new family weren't able to come up from Orlando but at least spent Thanksgiving with them there. The rest of our crazy eclectic family all came to our house for the day and what a day it was!
It was a "Hole" lot of laughter, fun and went on for several hours.
Massey and my brother ended up being the champions after a long four hour tournament and many team adjustments as people came and left. Let me just say it's not easy standing next to my brother when you toss, he's quite the character and doesn't mind screaming or shoving you when it's your turn...or at least mine.
My husband's parents stopped by to visit as well. They are as reserved as we are crazy and opted for staying inside at the kitchen table eating while we all advanced to the next bracket. Luckily we had a spread fit for a king. Ham, turkey, smoked salmon, pulled pork, brunswick stew, potato salad, asparagus casserole and plenty of other finger foods along with tons of sweets made by everyone. I love my in laws but think they probably get back into their car to go home and say Tim married into a nutty bunch. That's okay, I like being a nut!
For the first time in years I was able to give decent gifts to the people who mean the most to me in the world besides my own immediate family. My brother and sister.
My brother now lives in an amazing lake house in Orlando where we now spend Thanksgiving.
I was hoping my sister would like her present just as much. Words can't express how much she means to me. Simply put, she's my glue. She helps me keep my life together every day in every way and has done for me more than I could ever possibly do for her. She was pretty much a single mom for quite a few years and raised her two sons while working full time. She loves her boys and so do I.
When I'm with my brother and sister, I'm always smiling (even if we're at a funeral) and always feel tremendously loved. Both my wonderful parents are gone but left me in excellent hands with Cindy and Chris as sibs. They have both taken care of me (and sometimes my own family) when I couldn't; they never batted an eye or made me feel like a charity case even though I felt that way.
To be part of a family that knows the meaning of being a family is the greatest gift a person can have in life.
Webster's defines family as "Two or more people who share share goals, values and have commitments to one another."
I'm one lucky person to be one part of the above three and hope both know how very very much I love and admire them.
I'm even more lucky to have been one part of this group below of five.
Webster's also defines family as "A group of individuals derived from a common stock."
I've learned that friends are family too. Friend, also being defined by Webster's as "A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade" is exactly what I've been surrounded with my entire life and most probably another reason we've made it this far.
So I've made it almost fifty six years with the help and love of many...literally.
We've rebounded from a financial abyss, made tremendous strides forward , been supported and urged on every step of every day and now truly understand the meaning of life.