Monday, April 09, 2007

"To See The Best In Each Other"

We had a very nice Easter weekend, and I am sorry that it was so short.

My brothers and my older brother's family arrived early Thursday evening, but we had only two full days together (Friday and Saturday) and two partial days together (Thursday evening and Sunday morning) before we had to take them back to the airport early Sunday afternoon. Consequently, that did not allow much time for any special activities.

We had a nice dinner together at home on Thursday night, and on Friday we stayed home all day except for Good Friday Service. On Saturday, Joshua and my brothers and I managed to find time to play basketball in the afternoon, but otherwise we remained home on Saturday, too, and it was on Saturday night that we had our traditional Easter dinner. On Sunday morning, we attended Easter Service and returned home for a special Easter brunch, after which we all headed for the airport. It seemed like the weekend was over before it had even started.

My nephew had a wonderful time. He knows my parents' house very well, and he feels completely at home there. He mostly divided his time between playing with his toys and my parents' dog on the kitchen floor, with my father and my brothers and Josh and I generally joining him, and being held and rocked by one of us, with his grandparents always having first right of refusal.

It is very amusing to watch my nephew play with my parents' dog. The dog, of course, is many times larger than my nephew, dwarfing him whether my nephew is sitting or standing--and yet my nephew has never been afraid of the dog in the least. He has always treated the dog like his playmate, trying to talk to the dog and trying to get the dog to play with his toys. And the dog will sit for hours at a time next to my nephew, watching him and chewing on his toys (which is disgusting, and which means that we have to keep a sharp watch on my nephew to prevent him from putting the toys in his mouth).

One thing the dog cannot resist is a cookie. Whenever my mother would give my nephew a butter cookie, my nephew would take one bite from the cookie and then the dog would grab the rest of the cookie from my nephew's hand and gobble it down. This went on, over and over, and my nephew never seemed to mind the dog's cookie-snatching, probably because he knew that there was an endless supply of cookies, if necessary.

This Easter weekend marked the anniversary of Josh's first visit to my family home, and this year's Easter weekend was a lot different than last year's.

Before he came home with me for Easter last year, Josh had already met all of my family members except for my middle brother. Josh first met my older brother and my sister-in-law in February of last year in New York. He next met my father, in Washington, in March. Then he met my mother, in New York, in March.

(My father has long known Josh's father, and Josh's father's first wife--and my father had even met Josh's two oldest half-siblings many years ago. However, my father never met Josh until March 2006.)

Josh was not comfortable in my parents' home last Easter, despite already knowing everyone in the family except for my middle brother. This was understandable, if not to be expected, as one weekend was not enough time for Josh to become accustomed to the way things operate in my parents' home. Things were exacerbated last year at Easter by the fact that Josh had a tiff, first with my older brother and then with my father. After that, the remainder of the weekend last year was a rather frosty one, and there were hurt feelings all the way around, hurt feelings that did not get healed until almost six weeks later, when everyone gathered in Washington for our respective graduations, held one week apart.

And it is very hard to become accustomed to a new family home. I know exactly how Josh felt last year, because I have not yet spent enough time in Josh's family home to become comfortable there--I still feel like an intruder, despite his parents' best efforts to make me feel welcome.

A lot has happened in the last year, and we all have spent a lot of time together, and we all get along splendidly now. I would not necessarily have predicted this, however, one year ago.

A year ago, on Easter Sunday, when we were all on our way to the airport, I fear that everyone was relieved that the weekend had at last come to an end. This year, on Easter Sunday, when we were all on our way to the airport, I believe that everyone was sad to see the weekend come to an end.

Much has happened in the last year. Among other things, as my father says, we have now learned "to see the best in each other".

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