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Sitting in the shade of a large Oak tree at the park, my Mom looked at me holding Danny and said
"In our family, ever generation gets more love than the last."
My Mom and I are very close. We talk about almost everything, and I know that her childhood was not the happy place that mine was. I have told her on numerous occasions that I am amazed she was able to mother my sister and I the way she did considering the examples that were set for her. My Mom is amazing, and I only hope that I will be as good a mother to my children. Not only does she care for my kids, she takes the time to nurture me even as an adult by letting Justin and I go on fairly regular date nights where we can nurture our marriage and keep our relationship strong and our home environment healthy.
When I think about my kids and the family they have surrounding them, it's true - the amount of love and care they'll be able to experience is astronomical.
In our immediate family alone, Sam and Danny have a dozen people who love them, nurture them, play with them and encourage them.
Grandma Edie & Grandpa Paul - My Mom and her husband of a year a and a half. Seriously, my kids have been blessed with some of the most amazing grandparents. Paul was so excited about Danny before he was even born, and I'm excited for my kids to have him as a grandfather. He teaches physics & calculus so I'm off the hook for helping with THAT homework, and I can't wait for the kids to be old enough for him to teach them how to play chess.
Grandma Deanna & Grandpa Rich - Sam has been having several day long sleepovers at Justin's Moms house with her and her husband for over 2 years. Last time we called to ask if he could come visit soon, he'd just randomly started talking about Grandpa Rich. He wrestles with Sam, so that's probably earned him a special place in Sam's heart.
Grandpa Harold - Justin's Dad isn't quite as playful for a 4 year old, but he tries. He loves to tell stories and jokes, and loves Sam to come outside and 'help' with the outdoor chores at home.
Grandma Helene - My stepmom Helene loves my kids so much that it almost makes me cry to think about it. She absolutely adores him, and that really gets me right in the heart.
Grandpa Bill - Sam hasn't spent a TON of time with my dad, but the time he has spent has been happy.
Aunt Lianna - My soon-to-be 12 year old sister Lianna is totally going to be the 'fun' Aunt when my kids get older. She'll probably be young and hip and Sam and Danny will love it. I love watching her and her friends play with Sam when we visit.
Aunt Kira & Joe - My sister Kira? She is going to be 'the cool aunt'. Basically she's just an awesome person and I know that having her in their lives is really going to ADD something to Sam and Danny's lives throughout both childhood and adulthood. I'm including her boyfriend Joe on the list because he is amazing with the kids - it's one of the first things I noticed about him. If someday he joins our family officially, he'll be a more-than-welcome addition!
Uncle Jason & Aunt Stormy - We don't get to see Justin's brother and his wife as much as I'd like, especially now that they have moved to Texas for a few years because Jason is stationed there for the next few years. I'll be counting down the time until they move home to Washington and we can spend more time with them.
Then we have the extended 'family' - Great Aunt Anna & Uncle Dick. Great Aunt Becky. Great Aunt Ann. Cousin Emmy. Our friends Brooke & Dave. Honestly, the world is full of people who love these kids.
Can you see it? Can you see the amount of love and caring my kids have going for them? It's so overwhelming to me it's almost hard to think about. Of course no family is perfect, but mine? It has given me the confidence to know I am able to be the best mother possible. The confidence to know that my children will ALWAYS be loved and well taken care of, no matter what happens.
Parenting will never be easy. But my family? They make sure that it's as close as it can be.