November 10 from somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Not exactly in the mountains, but we have a gorgeous view. There was a herd of deer in our front yard last night. It is cold. It is quiet. All our people are here.

I am in Heaven.

I’m writing this from the dining room table, sipping coffee, while Russell takes some pictures of the view for me. Shawn is asleep in the living room. Sarah and Travis are sound asleep. I know this because the coffee grinder, announcing freshly brewed coffee to Travis, would have had him in the kitchen. He’s not. Brett and Rachel have gone down to Radford, where they met at college, fell in love in an instant, and have gone back to soak up some nostalgia from that era. Because nothing says lets revisit the place of our love like an early, cold morning spent at the shooting range.

Did I mention it is quiet this morning?

We are all here for no particular reason. What began as a Russell and Susan weekend to Roanoke to visit family quickly escalated to a “we want to come, too!’ event that sees us in an Airbnb, 20 minutes from town. Russell and I got here several hours earlier than all The Kids so we were settled in by the time they arrived bringing with them hugs and kisses, overnight bags and six-packs, hollers for help and car doors slamming. It was an instant healing balm to the open wound my heart has been this last year.

And then the arguing began…who got the other king size bed. Russell had put out the first-come, first-served word, but like Brett said, everyone knows their pecking order. Brett and Rachel are on the double. Which really doesn’t signify the true pecking order as Shawn is on the couch. Pro Tip to Shawn: find a wife and the other king is yours.

Late night snack-making, drinking fixing, laughter, and pushing and shoving in the kitchen, signaled it was time to gather at this same table to play Uno with the never-ending deck of Uno cards.  Over the years about 10 decks of Uno cards have ended up in the same plastic bag we took to and from the beach every summer. It means less shuffling and no card counting. When I threw out the idea that we would just pick up a new deck of Uno cards on our way into Roanoke and just play with that, there was stunned silence. The plastic bag made the trip.

As the Draw Twos, Skips, Reverses, and not-so-occasional Draw Fours (see the previous paragraph) were thrown down with in-your-face glee, it was hard for me to stay focused on the game. (Wait…does one really have to focus playing Uno?) because my heart was burstin’ at the seams with contentment and joy. How quickly it came to pass that the kiddos have grown and left the nest to come back together for snippets in time like this weekend. We now get to experience the results of our handiwork. And a whole lot of God’s grace and blessing. Thankful they still want to come together, for no real reason other than to be in the same place for a few days, as they pick right back up from where they left off, five of them now instead of three, juggling for the one bathroom assigned to The Kids.

As the laughing and door slammings began to die down, I realized that we, too, pick right back up where we ended, as Russell shouts out from our room, “time to settle down and go to bed!” and a lone voice says in the quiet, “seriously? we’re adults now.” And then complete silence.

Dad’s voice still shuts down the masses.

See y’all tomorrow…or Monday. I’m kinda busy this weekend…I can hear Sarah’s laughter from the back of the house…another day of amazing grace is about to begin.

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