Yesterday I celebrated the anniversary of being welcomed into the McCloskey clan. It happened eighteen years ago, when my mother told me she would rather spend Easter just with my father instead of including me in their plans. I was alone after a miserable divorce, and her insensitivity to my situation devastated me.
But Ken had recently come into my life, and when I shared what had happened, he put his arm around me and he said, “You’re coming home with me.” At the time, we just started dating, and I was afraid it was too soon to meet his family. But, it was the best thing I ever did.
I thought the fact that I was older than Ken would cause a problem, but it never was mentioned. Unlike my own family, his Mom, Dad, brothers, and sisters just accepted me as I am. And as you might imagine, it was a wonderful day.
Since that time, this family has become very dear to me. I love all of them very much. I’ve gotten a chance to watch “little” Kristen grow from a vivacious three-year-old to a beautiful young woman who will graduate from college next year. I’ve sung at Steve and Tara’s wedding in New York. (They helped me cross off that “bucket list” entry.) I also sang at Sue and Carl’s wedding in Chicago. I was there when Catherine was baptized. I held Isabel when she was a baby. I was there for Sue’s baby shower when she was pregnant with Joey. I was there for Mom and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary where I got to meet most of Ken’s uncles, aunts, and cousins. It’s been a gift to be included in this family. I thought these kind of people only existed in books.
With Ken’s MS it has become more difficult to be with the family because preparing for the trip is laborious. When Ken was well, it was no problem because he helped pack the car, and we took turns driving. But now, all of the packing, preparing, and driving is up to me. On top of that, Ernie has become of the McCloskey clan and expects to go, too. By the time I get to Steve’s house after all the commotion and driving about 100 miles through construction and Chicago traffic–I need a hug. Luckily, when I get there, everyone is standing in line to give me one. All of the effort was worth it because once again, I have a chance to bathe in the positive energy I get from the McCloskey family.
So yesterday, I not only celebrated Easter, as I watched the kids find their eggs the Easter Bunny had dropped all over the yard, I quietly celebrated my anniversary of being welcomed into this wonderful family. And the sun shone on me once again.