Monday, July 11, 2011

little brother

One week ago, I was flying back to Omaha from Chattanooga, TN where I attended my little brothers wedding. Now, he's well over 6 feet tall, so he's not quite little, but he's 2 1/2 years younger than me. It was a weekend to remember. My parents rented a huge house (7 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 3 living rooms) and we stayed there with most of the out of town family and a few of my brother's friends who were in the wedding. It was like a big Michigan reunion and it was awesome. I got to spend a LOT of time with my family, which I enjoyed and I no longer take for granted now that I live far away. We slept in rooms near each other, shared bathrooms, ate our meals together, and shared rides everywhere we went. When we weren't busy with wedding stuff, we had time to relax and enjoy each other's company. When I visit Michigan, I don't always get to do that to this extent.

The wedding stuff sure kept us busy, though. The events were all formal or semi-formal, and they were all just a little bit different than how we do it in the north. I wore a lot of makeup and did my hair in fancy ways every day. For the wedding, I got my first pedicure and got my hair and makeup professionally done. At first, it was fun to dress up, but I got sick of it by the end of the trip. I am not one of those women that enjoys a ton of pampering. I believe they call that low maintenance.

There was the rehearsal dinner, which was attended by about 80 people. I don't know if our experience was normal, but we spent about an hour or so sharing memories and saying how much we love and appreciate the bride and groom. It was so much fun because both Peter's side and Connor's side got to share memories of their loved one. There was much laughter, many tears, and boatloads of love in that room.

It was strange and wonderful to see Peter so happy. He was actually serious, which is rare for him. He was serious about how much he loved Connor, and serious about his appreciation to his friends and family. He was genuine and heart-felt. I don't even remember the last time I saw my brother like that. There were a lot of moments when I felt proud to see how much he has grown up. I was proud to see him in a healthy, loving relationship with his woman. I am thrilled to welcome a new family member into the Overbeek clan. I look forward to Connor being my sister for a very long time. It's strange to see her with my last name, but again, strange and wonderful.

And then Kara announced that she is pregnant! There's going to be a baby in the family! The first grand-child! I will be an aunt! I will hold a baby in my arms that shares my blood! I'm pretty excited for that.

This weekend overflowed with joy and happiness. Those times are rare and precious.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I've had this thought come into my head several times the past few days, and I would like to write it down.

I am a very lucky person. Some people prefer the word "blessed". To me, they mean about the same things. I was born in America to upper middle class parents. I attended private schools and got an excellent education. I got my bachelors degree and my masters degree. I have a lot of work experience. I have lived in a different country and traveled to a bunch of other countries around the world. I have good, good friends. My parents are still married and my family is strong. I am healthy, both mentally and physically. Very few of my friends and family have passed away. I live in a comfortable apartment with cable and internet. I have delicious strawberries in my fridge and cold water from my tap. A wonderful man loves me. I have more joyful memories than painful memories.

These days, work has been very difficult, for a variety of reasons. And I sometimes narrowly make it with my bills. Nevertheless, I am awed, amazed, humbled, and thankful for my luck, and I hope that I make the very best of the great things I have been given.