rest in peace, pap

Last week my grandpa (step-dad's father) passed away. It was sudden, a heart attack in the middle of the night, and left everyone stunned and stinging by the shock of his absence. Right before Christmas, and it makes the holiday taste bitter-sweet. I flew up to Pennsylvania for the memorial with my dad, little sister Emma, and Austen. It was the first time I left River for longer than one night, and a few tears did slip away as I kissed him goodnight for the tenth time before I headed to my parents' to spend the night, to awaken for that 6 am flight. We spent five days, which, despite the circumstances, were a wonderful five days spent with family that I hadn't seen in over two years. The memorial was beautiful, and possibly the best part was remembering Pap as a family and talking about what a good and Godly man he was, his goofy antics and rough nature and a heart full of love for his wife, seven children, 19 grandchildren, and 11 grandchildren. What a legacy.

Late last night after two plane rides, the last being five hours long (it was as awful as you can imagine it would be with a sleepy baby who refuses to sleep), I walked through the door to my home (at last! at last.) which was completely perfectly clean and organized in every corner, nook and cranny, and smelled like a cinnamon candle, thanks to John -- I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful welcome home. When Austen, who cried the entire hour's drive down from the airport, saw John, she let out a bawling, "DADA," and fell into his arms. It was precious and I want never to forget. Girl loves her daddy.

I adore how my children reacted upon seeing one another for the first time in a week the next morning. So many genuine snuggles and hugs and kisses were exchanged... initiated entirely by them. They didn't need coaxing to hug brother, or kiss sissy. There is so much love between the two of them and it made my heart swell; it was the best thing in the world. I know it sounds like I journeyed to the far corners of the earth for six months, but truly, I am so glad my little family is together again.

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