While scouring for an idea to write about today I thought I'd go back and check my files to see if there was some old piece I'd written that was forgotten, tucked away in that folder where good blog ideas don't get finished or just aren't fitting for that moment in time. Lucky me I found one!
It's little bittersweet since the coolness of autumn has arrived. I wrote this at the end of our family (and I mean extended family) vacation back in June. Those few days with my mom, brothers, nephew, and nieces are a treasured memory.
As you will read Blair, my youngest brother, and his tribe will be heading to England soon to begin work on his doctorate. It will require them being away for at least two years so that brief reunion back in June will have to serve as the first page of our family scrapbook. Also this entry is fitting since (at least in the United States) November is the time to reflect upon thankfulness. Hope you enjoy!
I’m writing this as we’re wrapping up a brief reunion with my brothers’ families. My youngest brother Blair, sister-in-law Lisa, and their four girls will be leaving for England later this summer for two years to earn his Doctorate in Divinities. Cameron and “Young” Cameron were here from Baton Rouge, Louisiana for the week. Despite recently cutting ties to a large law firm and finally setting up his own law practice, the middle brother and the lone nephew on my side of the family we’re able to hang out with the rest of us at my mom’s beach house on Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Unfortunately my wife (work), Cameron’s wife Sheri and my other niece and Godchild, Caroline (varsity cheerleading tryouts), weren’t able to attend even though the many phone calls over recent days let us know where their hearts were. I relate this information to you for two primary reasons, neither of which is to make any of you jealous that basically we leave for home today after a wonderful sun & fun-filled, sandy, relaxing beach vacation.
In the middle of what sometimes seemed like a three ring circus was the exceptional cousin, Ben. The Lion Tamer whether he knew it or not was the main focus of attention. In ring number one we had the Little Evie Act. The youngest of the Waddell clan entertained the crowd with antics only a 19-month-old toddler can muster. Misspoken words, dancing with abandon, and demands to return to her new “throne” (Ben’s wheelchair) kept the masses in stitches.
On the far side of the arena The Three Stooges (the three brothers) had children surfing in the waves, building sandcastles (okay, actually pig sculptures and barnyard critters), and generally making fools of themselves playing Pictionary’s Disney version. While much more rowdy and foolish nothing they did could compare to the magnetism of the center ring. The huge smiles, the gibberish sounding coos, the arms stretching for hugs - the other acts within this family circus just couldn’t compete. Young cousins and one big sister wrestling over time spent with The Lion Tamer made the Ring Master one happy grandma!
There is nothing more special than the unconditional love that exudes from Ben but the acceptance and understanding of those who love him most comes pretty close! We are very blessed to have the family that we have: mine and Joan’s. We’ve had tremendous support from so many friends over the past nine years but nothing compares to what is truly a constant in Ben’s life: family.