I know and have known for some years now, that we, - the Machinist and I have a very unique situation. We view our situation very seriously and never take it for granted. In truth, words cannot describe our fortunate circumstance. We (separately) think about it each day. We talk about it most days. Sometimes, the sheer recognition, the joy of it all is overwhelming. Blissfully overwhelming.
Our children live and have lived with us through to adulthood. Those that have left home and have married live less than 500 metres away from us - with their children - our grand-children. Not only do they live with us and near us, they earn their living from our family business.
They show up, each work day.
They desire to be with us. Seek our approval. Ask our council.
"Mama's" large living room is a haven for regular family gatherings. In cheer and delight, in trouble and strife. In loud disagreements (sometimes furious) and peaceful accord (often without verbal apologies). Mediation and reconciliations.
The kitchen table is seldom clear. Not only topped with food and drink - but also crayons, play dough, baba bottles and dummies, bibs, hair ties and brushes, Lego, soft and cuddly toys as well as "interesting items to occupy the young". Oh - and blood pressure machines!
The kitchen table; - without a cloth, but rather - covered most days with chunky babies, passed around as if on a Party Susan.
In younger years, I could never even imagine a life like this. Nor could the Machinist. Although I, from a large family, and the Machinist an only child, both of us grew up painfully aware of loneliness.
We are often reminded that God setteth the lonely in Families.
And we are grateful. Truly grateful.