I recently ventured across the country with the boys to visit my family. A last minutes, unplanned trip. Homesick, kind of down and in need of familiar faces, we were off.
I was amazed by how incredible the boys did on the plane. I planned ahead and packed a backpack full of activities for Tolliver. Snacks, toys and blankies for Holliday. Really, I didn't need most of what I had packed.
When we landed, my family awaited us. Well, I can safely say they were more so awaiting the boys arrival, I was just a bonus. Familiar hugs and smiles paved our welcome. Family.
My husband and I do it alone. We raise our boys without the help of family, and have a few friends we can count on to lend a needed hand. We rarely ask for help, but we know it's there when necessary. We don't really complain about the lack of assistance, because it's what we know. Overall, I think we are doing a pretty bang up job!
Tolliver was instantly greeted with Thomas the Train and tracks. His love. He took right over, as though he had been there a million times, not three. Holliday flirted and smiled, and for once, I didn't have a baby hanging off of me. It felt kind of nice, but foreign. I don't give them enough credit, apparently. They adapted better than I did.
Over the course of our two week stay, both boys formed bonds with certain family members. Tolliver was all about Grandpa. Grandpa has an (un)healthy collection of Hot Wheels, Tolliver's other love. Every day Tolly managed to weasel an armful of cars from Grandpa. As each one was opened, a new excitement emerged. Not only was it a cool car, but it was from his loving Grandpa. Grandpa also took a liking to having Tolly as his wandering buddy. My dad wanders. Give him a destination, and he finds pit stops in between. He likes to wander, and apparently enjoys it even more when he has super cute, and enjoyable company. The great thing, Tolly loves to wander, too. Just get up and go. Doesn't matter where, he's your guy. While Tolly found his place with every one, Grandpa seemed to be his special person. I get it. Grandpa is a great guy.
Holliday took to my little sister. Holliday is a cuddly boy. He needs to be held and cuddled more often than not. My little sister loves babys. Not only does she love baby's, but she loves baby's that she can call her nephew. They cuddled, walked, played, laughed, ate and bonded. He fell in love, as did she. He was so comfortable with her, and she would rather be holding him than hanging out with her friends. She is an amazing aunt. It was beautiful to watch.
I miss my family immensely. I hate that I am missing out on so much of my sister growing up. She is smart, beautiful, nurturing and a generally kind soul. We jokingly banter back and forth as though we get to see each other every day. I hate that we don't. I know there are times when she needs me, and there are most definitely times when I need her.
My little brothers are growing into men. Shaving, girlfriends, and highschool. Where has the time gone? Yesterday, they were small enough to sit on my lap. I could bribe them with candy to do my yard work, and treating them to a can of Coke, or a trip to the $ store made their day. Now, to compete, I better be handing over a cell phone or video game. Time flies.
My dad is aging, and although I know he has plenty of life in him, I hate that I can't be spending these years with him. I hate that Tolly can't go hang out with Grandpa whenever he feels like it. I hate that when I am having a bad day, I have to pick up the phone to get the encouraging words from my step-mom. I hate the phone, I need the real thing.
Although Shane and I do a bang up job at raising our boys, it became apparent to me how important it is for them to have these bonds with people outside of Shane and myself. While we can offer whatever they need, they also need to learn to trust in others. They need that special bond with those who love us. They need that hug from equally capable, but different arms.
Every experience is a learning opportunity. With this experience, I relearned to love and fully appreciate each and every member in my family for who they are. I learned to appreciate the unconditional love my family has for me, and my boys. To make the effort to keep the budding relationships alive. We all get busy, but we can never allow ourselves to be too busy for our family.
~ Connected Mom, Tammy