My family has grown by one. Today (Monday, May 1) I received a text from one of my brothers. Accompanying the text was a picture, taken in a hospital room, of the cutest little baby. He was being held by his four-year-old sister, who was beaming. The birth of this sweet baby boy signifies the start of several other very special events, that I am very excited about, that will be taking place back-to-back over the next few months. Next, one of my nephews will be getting married in May. Our vice-president’s granddaughter will be getting married in June. We (the Goodloes) will be having a family reunion in Big Lake in July. One of my nieces will be having a baby in August. And in September, another one of my nieces will be getting married.
As I’ve watched my young relatives grow into adults and begin families of their own, I can’t help think about how I felt as I experienced some of these same life events when I around their age. There was always a mixture of pure joy and a little bit of fear, especially when I had my son. But something that I always can say is that my family was always there for me whenever I needed them. Even though my son was born over forty years ago, I can clearly see my great-grandmother (We called her Muda), showing me how to rock my baby “the right way.” I can clearly see my mom perfecting the temperature of his bottles and making sure that his diapers were the whitest.
Weddings and babies bring so much joy and hope to families. They are testaments that beautiful things can and do happen and that people can come together and create the most amazing memories and little people. They give us a chance to take stock of all the bountiful blessings that we sometimes take for granted. As our family trees grows and expands, we get to be thankful for all that has happened to make everything possible.
Weddings bring two families together and join them as one. I’ve always loved how it is not just the bride and the groom that get married, but dozens and dozens of others seem compelled to make an effort to welcome the other side into their hearts. I’ve always loved seeing the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom become friends who meet every day to have coffee or seeing the fathers of the newlyweds get together to barbeque on the weekends.
And of course, there are babies. Babies can make us feel old and young simultaneously. I can remember when my nieces and nephews were born. Sometimes it feels like some of them were born only yesterday. And now they are having babies of their own, but then when I look into those new, little faces, I see so many of my relatives. And I realize that the baby may never know the many people who passed on before him, but he carries so much of them within him.
So I am looking forward to these weddings and the births of more babies. I will be there, playing the same role that my Muda and mother played before me, welcoming each new family member with my arms spread wide, ready to love and cherish them.