After a night with all of us at his house, my dad looked a little like he'd had a long day on the Bering Sea- still handsome as ever, but a little worse for the wear!
My aunt Vicky and cousin Josh were in visiting (from Jersey and the OC respectively) for the first time in 5 years. We decided to have a little reunion out on my dad's farm. It started out very innocent- just lots of being together and reconnecting.
My dad, my Mamaw, dad's sister Vicky and my GranGran
My kids met and fell in love with my cousin Josh almost instantly. He's a surfer/skateboarder/artist and just uber cool in their eyes.
There was good food and good hammock swinging...
...and just lots of great time being together.
And then it all got crazy. My dad loaded most everyone on the four wheeler and whispered to me,"Go stand over there, you're gonna wanna record this." It was the crazy Captain Phil coming out in him. He didn't care that my 74 year old grandmother was in the front seat or that my little ones were in the back. He was ready to make some memories. And oh, what hilarious (and wet!) memories they are. This is what happened in picture progression:
It was gloriously hilarious. Especially the aftermath:
Oh, my dad. He was only slightly excited at the giant prank he'd just pulled off.
And this? This has to go down as my favorite picture ever taken of my Mamaw: soaking wet, stinking of dirty creek water and happy. Blissfully happy.
The kids did the typical, "Do it again, Papaw!" and he was all too happy to oblige. This time, I caught the live action and it just makes me smile- especially seeing how happy my Sadie is.
And that's how it came to be that
Captain Phil Papaw Johnny looked like he'd had an epic day on the Bering Sea Waddy Creek.
In my lifetime, my dad's side of the family hasn't always been close. All of his siblings are scattered all over the country and we don't all get together very much. I think the older we all get, the more we recognize that these are the connections that matter. I can't even begin to describe how much it means to me that I've been able to get to spend time with my grandmother and know her heart over the last 5 or 6 years and marvel at how she has become such an integral part of my children's lives. And I can't even begin to describe how fun it's been to get to know my aunts when they come in to visit. And how reconnecting with my cousins has given me such joy. And how watching my children play giant games of hide and seek with my cousin's children has been a major blessing in my life. Maybe I'm just feeling sentimental, but I'm so grateful for the gift of family that I've been given- even if this side of the family was a late in life gift. I think it makes it mean more. I'm just grateful. And I'm grateful that when I get in the van with my husband after a wild night like that and I lean over and say, "Thank you for loving my big, giant, redneck family," that he says, "Ummmmm, have you met MY family?"
Good people. Good times. Memories that will last forever.
The beautiful sunset that capped off the night.