Starry, Starry Night

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With the sky charcoal gray and the stars pinpoints of light across a huge canvas, we stood on the sand and watched the kids scatter across the beach for spotlight tag.

Cousins – some biological, some inherited by marriage – from the age of 6 to 24, played together in the night, trying to spot one another in the dark. The ocean crashed its music against the shore over and over again.

This kind of fun can only happen when you give yourself over to the moment entirely.

When I married Dan, I got lucky in the way that our kids blended with one another and all of our kids look at both of us as their parents. We are the ideal situation of a blended family – and we look and feel and act like a family of origin.

We have it pretty good.

But it goes even deeper. At the beach this week as part of Dan’s extended family’s annual vacation, we fit right into his cousins and their families. Our kids and their kids were immediate friends. I sit in long conversation with some pretty remarkable people, my husband’s cousins, and I thank God that they are now my family, too.

You hear so many bad in-law stories – but do you hear the good ones? Here’s a good one. Here’s a story of a family I not only like to be with, I feel lucky to call mine.

My 8-year-old looks up at very tall new cousins who are college-age and beyond. Asks them to throw the football on the beach. And they say yes.

Kind, good people. We live in a world of madness and hatred, but from where I sit, all is good, all is friendly, open hearts and open minds abound.

It’s a lot of effort to get even a small family out to the shore. To walk over the hot sand in the beating sun, carrying all the chairs and towels and other stuff we know we want and need down by the water.

But we get there and settle in, and the children run straight into the surf. And all the struggle of getting there is immediately forgotten, faded away into the symphony of the ocean.

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