On Saturday early in the morning, we loaded up the family and drove south to the beach, where we met a good bit of Ben's family: his two brothers and their seven children and his parents. We're here for a week enjoying the beach, one another's company and a lot of down time. It has been wonderful.
The last time we did something like this was the week after Ben and I graduated from highschool. His brothers and their families (at that time, one had three little kids, the other two) invited us to come along on their beach vacation. It must have been the coolest thing either of us had ever done. I loved Ben very much by that point in time, but over that week was probably the first time I could imagine all of this that we've built over the years. Watching Ben play with his nieces and nephew, roughhouse with his brothers, interact with his big and wonderful family. It brought such warmth to my heart, and I could just imagine building a family together with this man.
Now, here we are so many years later. We have three children of our own (and two on the way!). Those nieces and nephew are young adults now, or teenagers. There are new members of the family, family members have moved, other have retired. A lot has changed, and yet here we are, still a family that loves being together.