Guess which lucky aunt and uncle got to spend a couple of precious hours with their favorite littles?!
Holy moly is there a God in the details, in a missed flight and an unexpected layover, a surprise at our doorstep of His plans that are always so infinitely better.
Because the so big hugs and surprise squeals, the “Uncle Joe look what I can do!” and the “Aunt Racheal look how tall I am“?
It was like extra cherries and whipped cream and hot fudge with glitter sprinkles on a sundae and OH MY HAPPY all rolled into one.
I remember distinctly the first time I looked differently at J, the first time I ever thought that J could be so much more than just a friend.
It was a random conversation in our favorite sushi place on Battlefield, a teasing argument on who possibly had the cutest nephew and niece in the world and for the first time, I saw the man I married and fell head over heels for.
The man that got exactly what I meant when I said I think it takes a village to raise a child.
That didn’t judge when I said I was willing to leave everything I had built to move back so that my children would have the gift of quiet afternoons spent with grandma and grandpa.
So that they could have secrets and inside jokes with cousins over weekends instead of just Christmas and Easter.
So that they would learn that family doesn’t always mean blood and that my bffs could be role models much cooler than I could ever be and would stand in when I couldn’t or my children didn’t want me to.
So that they too, would have those same precious dates with aunts and uncles who would
spoil love them silly and show them the world.
The man that if I said, drop everything, one of our own needs us and we need to go now to just sit with them in the dark and hold them and remind them that they are loved and not alone, would do exactly that.
The man that bought his mom a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day and saved it in his fridge because she was coming to visit the next week. Who looked at me like “doesn’t everyone do that?“.
I knew then that I was completely done for.
That in between him showing up with surprise lattes and laundry dates, was a man that shared so many precious “you too’s?” in a world where I didn’t always know how to navigate.
He knew because he believed in that village.
A village where the first thing little Sophie told me when she saw the pink in my hair was “You have hair just like Aunt Geri!” 🙂
The village where the best mother-in-law in the world carefully shopped for sparkly things and thoughtful gifts for my family and I.
Wrapping up care packages in boxes and tissue paper that my brother and sister-in-law tucked safe into their luggage as they lugged our treats from Illinois to Xian to Bali to Kuala Lumpur.
I love most of all that J and I got to witness love at work.
That instead of getting frustrated with my sister-in-law, Jason, who gave the most beautiful speech on a God-glorifying marriage at our wedding, didn’t blame but instead acknowledged how hard Shuang Li worked on planning their trip.
That sometimes, these things just happen.
That this is marriage and it is so very hard work but so so rewarding at the same time.
There is always good in the best laid plans gone wrong, if you look for it.
They paid more than they intended to switching flights and burning a night at the hotel.
The hotel that sweet Alex in his many many stories and smiles told me excitedly, “Aunt Racheal, did you know that at the hotel, you can get a drink at the pool? Can you get drinks at your pool?!?”
A story that we got to hear a week early amidst the gathering and the laughing and the sharing.
The love on J’s face when he told me his brother was on the way over from the airport?
Babies come from those heart exploding moments.
And next week when they come back from Bali and stopover again for the weekend, I will get to ask Alex about his drinks and let Sophie check out my new nail polish.
But more than anything else in the world, I hope our favorite littles on each continent will always know that no matter where in the world they live or go, that Uncle Joe and Auntie Racheal’s house is always open.
That we will always listen to their stories big or small, good or bad, and there will always be hugs.
Ian’s Uncle Jooouh and Aiden’s Auntie Wacheal
Here was my original happy picture of the day before the surprise. 🙂
I had a little date with Catherine and I love what she had to say about it when she posted it.
“If you can laugh really loud, talk spontaneously, and you don’t care how your face looks, you are probably with your real friends.”
Better yet, join us and share your happy! 🙂 🙂 🙂