>Mom, Dad, and Ashley

>Once again I find myself struck by my family as I prepare to embark on this new journey. Family really is a gift. There are days, of course, when I doubt that as everyone else does, but when it’s all said and done, I can only be thankful for my family: Mom, Dad, and Ashley.

This week has been and will continue to be hectic. I’m getting ready for a wedding, for a new life. Of course it will be hectic. But in the midst of the packing and the planning, I feel that some little haven was given to us tonight. After driving up to Dayton with the three of them to drop off some things, we decided to eat at the little country restaurant I worked at through high school. When my former coworkers came out to greet me, one by one, I was so proud to have my family there with me. I told the old friends about the wedding and the upcoming life, and right by my side were Mom, Dad, and Ashley, as usual.

They have always been by my side, even when I’ve hurt them the most, or when I’ve pleased them the least. Through all the years of disobedience, and all the words of malice, and all the acts of selfishness, they have been there. When heartache and sorrow have incapacitated me, they have been there. When I’ve celebrated life’s greatest gifts, they have been there. By my side.

And there we were tonight, the four of us. Tucked away in the very back corner of the back dining room at Countryside Cafe, we sat at in a circle at the table. We laughed a lot. And when folks came to greet me and congratulate me, they waited and smiled with me. They were a little sad, I know, but my family still smiled, and they still asked questions about the future, and they still hoped only the best things for Julie and me.

As this week continues to scramble me around until Saturday, I’ll remember that time at the table. Once life gets going and starts to roll me through the ups and downs, I’ll remember tonight. And as Julie and I start our own life together and think about our family, I’ll think my family. I’ll remember how wonderful they have been: Mom, Dad, and Ashley.


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