My mom is off to Italy soon on her dream trip of a lifetime (may the cobblestones be smooth, the blisters scarce and the lines short).
She sent wedding gifts in advance of her departure since she will be overseas during the celebration (toss a coin into the Trevi fountain for me, please!)
The last one took me by surprise.
As I battled with the endless folds of cardboard and the mobius-like twists of extra strong packing tape, I realized that the box contained a frame. Or actually, several. One of those displays that is comprised of many attached picture frames.
As I victoriously tore away a sticky note-sized piece of cardboard, I saw my grandmother’s familiar face. She had a glass in one hand and a smile on her lips.
I tore some more.
And saw my mom, stepdad and his mom, all with glasses and smiles.
They seemed like strange photos to select.
But then I revealed a bit more.
A family friend, aunt really, who was clinking a steel wine goblet against a toaster.
Ahhh, got it:)
My suspicions were confirmed as the last of the cardboard sheath fell to floor, revealing almost a dozen pictures, containing 28 family members, all raising a toast to our wedding.
Some were dressed up. Others were casual. Some had juice. Or beer. Or wine. One precious little one drank to our happiness from her baby bottle. And a furry one toasted with her favorite toy.
The pictures are from Texas. And Wisconsin. And Washington. And Oregon. And even California.
Some of the family members I see every couple years. While, with others, it’s much longer between visits.
It’s such an amazing feeling to gaze upon those pictures and feel the support of so many, even when they are far away.
And that’s what family is. I only share blood ties with a handful of those in the frame (I had to chuckle when describing the relationships to a visiting friend last night while showing her the gift. “I guess it’s a modern family,” I said.), we are tied by a sense of belonging. Of support. It doesn’t matter how the ties were formed. Once there, they’re not broken.
And in less than two weeks, Brock and I will officially become family. I feel a sense of belonging. Of support. It doesn’t matter what led up to this. We’re family now.
And I’ll toast to that:)