Typically, two o'clock is when I ask everyone to arrive when I am hosting dinner at my home. The time means nothing as my daughters all have young children and can be up to an hour late, depending on the reason. It is a source of irritation I try to ignore.
I like to have everything ready before the crowd arrives. The house is clean; music is playing, appetizers are on the counter. Dinner is in the oven.
Aside from the music playing in the background, all is serene. My husband and I might pour a glass of wine and sit on the patio, enjoying the ambiance created. This adult serenity is only temporary.
Everyone bursts into the house at once, the grandkids yell Gigi, Papa! We greet all of them with hugs, picking them up and swinging them in the air. They race off in all directions. The adults follow in their footsteps with diaper bags, strollers, car seats, and sippy cups. My home is full of belongings and chaos. The music selection switches from Frank Sinatra, which I had picked, to country music, my son in laws favorite. The appetizers are appreciated by all and devoured.
It doesn't take long before one of the kids is crying from an injury. It usually repeats itself several times throughout the afternoon. The adults delve into a conversation; you would think we never see each other. So much can happen in the several hours since we last spoke.
Finally, it is time for dinner. We gather everyone to pray. I love this moment. The three oldest grandchildren like to share in the prayer time, each lifting their praises to God.
Prayers completed, we grab our plates and head to the table. Silverware is clanking; voices are rising; the table is alive with conversation. It is so noisy; the music is barely audible. I glance at Aaron, my son in law; he is quiet. He looks at me and says, "I love this," and I say, "what," he replies, "family." So now, my throat is tight with emotion. I look at him and smile because if I speak, I may cry. Family is everything.
When the evening comes, and they all depart, I look at the mess left behind. Sticky spills on the floor, couch pillows were thrown on the floor, crayons littered about, and dishes galore. I smile. It was a good day. I sometimes wish I could freeze time. They are my world.
"A happy family is but an earlier heaven." -George Bernard Shaw."
Hold their hands tight!