Family: a person or people related to one and so to be treated
with a special loyalty or intimacy.
We have had a special week.
A week with a very definite theme that has the title 'Family'. The far-flung kind of family, the ones we never see enough of. And the closer ones we never see enough of either. There was a birthday party with a lot of reacquainting and catching up, with distant cousins and great-aunts, and people traveling from far and wide. And it was a heartening affair, and such a treat to have a party and a get-together that was not a wedding or a funeral!
We did manage one day at the beach with our French cousins, and the sun came out and we even had another gathering that evening as more cousins arrived from Galway and we sat late into the night chatting. And I don't think there is anything else I love more than the bustle of many people in the kitchen, preparing food, gathering around the table together and sharing. Teenagers, toddlers, parents, aunts and uncles and cousins.
And although the sun shone for the first few days it did become patchy and their holiday ended up (as was perfectly phrased on a postcard home) one third sunny, one third cloudy, and one third rainy. A perfect Irish summer.
So on the rainy days, which coincided with my car breaking down and being unavailable for almost three days, the children made gingerbread men, and played trains, and went swimming, and in between showers ran around the garden, and had quiet games in corners of the house. And overall, ten people in the house for a week was surprisingly easy and trouble free.
And on their last day we had another family gathering, this time in the new, almost finished house of my brother and his girlfriend. And oh what pleasure I took nosing around, loving the smell of new paint and wood and the atmosphere of new beginnings and the end of a long slog that is renovating a house.
There are the most beautiful and sweet details that beg to tell a story, if only we could hear. And I could spend forever peeking and poking and musing about long forgotten conversations and dreams and tears that must have passed under this roof in times gone by.
And what new dreams are being lived out here now? And what the future holds can only be wondered at, a new home the perfect place to begin a new chapter. And someday it too will be part of someone's story.
And as we gather, we chat and plan a plan that has been talked about for many a month, and which we will actually get to fulfill next weekend, all going to, well, plan! And I look forward to sharing it with you all in a few installments over the next week.
So, amidst all the visitors, the parties, the planning and assembling, we are thrilled have new neighbours in the nearest house to ours, and these new neighbours also happen to be some of our dearest friends, and...cousins!
And I won't begin to tell you the scheming and dreaming that is going on between these two little houses!