In they all swooped, our wonderful, messy, blended, extended family.
Just how each of us is related and connected to each other doesn't seem to matter much anymore. Step-children and half-siblings and assorted husbands, current and ex, they've all morphed into just plain grandpas and cousins and aunts and uncles, without asterisks and explanations.
But for a few days, we were all under one roof. Cousins were meeting for the first time, picking out Hot Cross Buns on the ancient piano that doesn't mind sticky fingers.
There was a lot of hugging and cuddling.
There were quiet one-on-one conversations when and where we could snatch them.
There was my happiest moment: having all three of my children in one spot, relaxed and reconnecting, now that they are grown and independent. They are different now, from the youngsters they once were. I am glad that they are getting to know each other again.
My former husband Dan, pictured below, was around a lot, enjoying his grandchildren. You know who gets credit for this? My current husband of 29 years. Bob is an awfully good step-dad, in my opinion. He has always wanted Dan to be welcome in our home, especially when John is around. Divorce is hard enough on children, even grown children. Bob has always kept us focused on trying to be a smoothly blended family. He should give lessons. Thank you, Bob.
There were aunts and step-grandmas and lots of shared meals.
There were moments when everyone was tired of Mom's endless picture-taking and just wanted to eat in peace.
There was a lazy afternoon when vegging out held great appeal. Grilled cheese sandwiches and a kids' video seemed like a good idea.
Cousins shared a quiet moment, trying to learn cat's cradle together.
And a parents' night out together gave Grandpa Bob an armful for fairy tales in front of the fireplace.
But then the first batch had to depart. Pumpkin glasses helped keep the farewell on a light note. Margie sure missed Lexi when she had gone.
And on the last night, there was one more aunt to get to know over a story book.
The little 'uns slipped away from the final gathering of grownups, to horse around until the commotion reminded everyone that the kids needed an early night.
And then -POOF- it was all over. That's all folks, Margie seems to be saying.
Up before 4 AM this morning to get everyone to the airport for an early flight.
The house is too quiet now. I am already missing them all.
But, my oh my, what a good week. Thanks for coming, my dears. It was wonderful to see you all. Come back soon!