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long weekend in washington

There were so many "best parts" about being reunited with my family that it's hard to decide which one really wins... There were the ear-piercing shrieks when I entered the living room (they did not expect me to make the 8+ hour plane and car trek to Washington from Tennessee), meeting my aunt's husband and kids for the first time (they've been married ten years, people), seeing my uncle and his wife after eight years, dancing with one and all (from an adorable two-year old to my even more adorable grandmother), laughing--both horrified and delighted--at seeing my husband pull his Gangnam Style moves all across the living room floor... The list is endless.

What happens when one is away from family for so long is a burgeoning appreciation--how wonderful it feels to bask in familial love, something that is easily taken for granted when readily available. These are the people who shaped me--my eating habits (dessert for breakfast, but of course! not one child was told to minimize their sugar intake, how refreshing), my sense of humor (belly laugh at something just slightly funny, not being able to finish one's joke because the giggles have already taken over), my weaknesses (over an hour spent in a single shop--my aunts and grandmother are retail Olympians). Many of my quirks, so different from my husband's, explained in a single weekend.

I can't wait till I am able to once again pull up a chair next to Michael, lean my elbows on the table, and listen to the multiple casual conversations swirling around me. Someone will tease Michael, and he'll dish it right back (one my very favorite things is how he just jumps in a family joke--even my grandmother commented on this), people will start laughing--even if they missed the punchline--simply because it's infectious, and I'll sigh as I lose my internal struggle and steal another slice of cake from the middle of the table. So simple, but such a joy.

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