The best thing about spending time with the family here in Pennsylvania is that it is intense togetherness. At home I see my family often, but in smaller bites. We see them at dinner, at church, at ball games or school programs. We have children overnight for for a day. But here we live in their home, in this case for an entire week.
Living with them means watching the ordinary moments in family life, like packing lunches for school, hurrying out the door for play practice, heading to bed after a long day. It reminds me of what a gift it is to have a family and be surrounded with the energy and life of youth. It reminds me of the years when my own children were small and climbed into my lap for comfort, or love. It reminds me of how they needed me then, and makes me smile to see how my grandchildren need them now. It's a time of self-examination and gratitude, of introspection and sometimes, regret. It's a time to cherish.
I wish they all lived close to me, these children and grandchildren. But since that's not possible I appreciate the opportunity to have the best of both worlds. And hopefully continue to grow in the experience.