29 July 2013

Four Feel-good Family Days

What a weekend! Four-day weekends, ideally, should be fun and satisfying. This month needed a long weekend that was both. Never mind that everything about it was, so to speak, imposed on us. The "impositions" were good, and good for us.

After my mother-in-law's funeral on July 15, my Karen was home for two nights and the day in between, then back over to help our her father. Then home for two nights before heading to Portland (OR) for her annual software users conference. Thanks to the "adventure" of self-imposed penury, and the exigencies of thesis-writing, I had to miss this year's tagalong. Karen was home for one night before we again returned to Michigan - for our four day weekend.

Thursday - we arrived at my father-in-law's house and helped out with a variety of chores through the afternoon. I drew the outdoors straw, and on this beautiful day set to watering plants and weeding the entryway. Nice work, especially considering the basement option. But we both did end up in the basement, organizing and clearing things. I prefer my physical activity to be fitness related, but theologically, genetically, and practically, I know that labors in the ground and for others are actually closer to the "Maker's mark" on our lives. Satisfying work.

Thursday night we slept for nine hours - unheard of - followed by Friday morning's bike ride, with temperatures in the low 60s and full-on sun. The moderately aggressive solo pace made for an invigorating 90 minutes . . . all the time I could give the great outdoors on a day that had to include some serious thesis reading. Karen put in a long day at her dad's place, and that evening we were taken to dinner by Karen's brother.

In the evening, her two nieces arrived to kick off that family's family week at the lake. Four adult children, 9 grandchildren, bikes, boats, etc. We got out of there in time Saturday morning for their festivities to begin!

My family had its own festivities: the reunion of my mother's side of the family, to celebrate 100 years of family history on the property my maternal grandparents bought in 1913. My oldest sister lives there now, with both Freeman and King cousins nearby. The Freemans ruled the weekend, coming from as far away as California and Alabama. We had two days of catching up, learning more family history than any one of us already knew, and of course eating! Karen and I camped Saturday night at the private lake behind the old farmstead . . . our first tenting together in something like 8-10 years.

Driving back into Chicago on any summer Sunday is always its own adventure, but even that went well, as we talked away and anticipated a couple of weeks at home - our own bed, our own gardens to take care of, our routines, my thesis. The four-day weekend was a perfect transition out of a month we would not - for the most part - want to repeat. Here's to the adventure that August will be!

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