On Saturday Aunt Pamela came to visit. She's my aunt, and we hadn't visited with her in 6 years. She's begun to spend her time traveling the U.S. over and over again visiting her grandchildren (who are spread literally from coast to coast and north to south in this great country of ours). She's also been visiting extended family and friends, and we were blessed to be on her route this year.
She drove 9 hours to get to our house. I was preparing a salad for dinner when I saw her car pull into our driveway. Dad was gone with the older girls to pick up the last few items they needed for camp this week, but the little ones ran out the front door to greet her as she came up the walkway.
"Aunt Pamela! Aunt Pamela!" they shouted joyfully. I'd been talking about her all week, and though most of them had never met her before, they were happy to love someone I've loved all of my life.
The rest of the family arrived home in short order and several happy, talk-filled hours followed. We shared stories with her; she shared stories with us. We ate good food together. And then the best part followed.
Aunt Pamela taught us how to use ancestry.com. She's been working on this site for years, organizing and documenting as much family history as she can. The project has grown so huge that she's inviting as much of the extended family as is willing to join her in the work.
To teach us she randomly followed one line to its final entry--the oldest known ancestor on that line. She showed us how to learn about this man and his family . . . our family. I was sitting across the room at the time, nursing Baby L, but the kids were gathered close watching the computer screen as Aunt Pamela showed them what she knew. I listened to the story of my ancestor's life--born in Scotland . . . imprisoned during the battle of Culloden . . . emigrated to America (those are just the highlights I remember 2 days later), and I felt my heart expand.
I also felt as if I were listening to a history book--an interesting one!
We've been challenged for years by our church leaders to do family history work, and we have obeyed . . . in a rather perfunctory manner. Somehow, Aunt Pamela's lesson in our home with our very own family inspired us in ways the general appeal has never done.
We opened our invitation to view the two main family lines she's been working on the very next day. A8 and H5 sat by my side, glued to the computer screen as we looked up names and histories of family members generations removed from us. We traveled through time to see what we could see, learn what we could learn, and love who we could love.
We'll be doing it again, very soon.
Other joyful parts of our week:
|J11 and S12 were changing Baby L one morning. They so enjoyed his chubby baby body that they took pictures of him.|
|And then I was struck by the same joy a day or two later.|
|He had a well-baby check-up this week . . . weighing in at 17 lbs 14 oz!!! That's a far cry from the unable-to-nurse-slow-to-gain little fellow he once was. :)|
|I3 took lunch orders one day--PB&J on the menu. M13 wrote each family member's name in a row and I3 wrote either "S" for strawberry jam or "A" for apricot.|
|We ordered corn from Bountiful Baskets. H5 is particularly struck by the beauty of the food we eat.|
|I3 was very proud that he put this puzzle together all by himself.|
|Daddy and the boys watch a bit of baseball together.|
|One afternoon the little guys had fun turning the counting bears into a rainbow--no orange bears? No problem! They just plunked Baby L's favorite stretchy toy (knitted by E15) in the gap.|
|On a warm evening, H5 and A8 asked me to tie their legs together to try a 3-legged "race." They practiced and practiced until their rhythm was perfect. (There were a lot of stubbed toes and bruised knees along the way)|
|Sometimes you just have to leap. (Photo credit: A8)|