Full House...

We entered the three-story beach house to the sounds of enthusiastic conversation and excitement. The kitchen was filled with activity preparing for dinner, and children were running about. We were instantly welcomed by hugs and smiles and immediately offered a refreshment. Some might consider it chaos but others would simply call it family.

This past weekend, Casey and I joined his parents and brother for a trip to the Outer Banks. Every spring, my father-in-law's Aunt Barbara hosts her entire family for a week down along the beaches of North Carolina. For the past decade or so, she has rented the same exact house for the occasion, accommodating all four generations under one roof (approximately 30 people). Talk about a full house! As the relative newbie to the bunch, I could have easily felt overwhelmed or secluded from the group, but in reality, things were quite the opposite. 

Aunt Barbara represents one of the many branches within our family tree. With such a large family comes a certain amount of drama. But outweighing any sort of drama are the big family dinners, the never-ending laughter, the reminiscing about the past, the friendly competition of games and above all else, the unconditional love. I very much admire Aunt Barbara and appreciate the kindness she has personally shown me. As the ninety-one year old matriarch of her family, she is the glue that holds everyone together.

The Outer Banks, North Carolina

I am currently writing this post as I ride the train home from New York City. I spent the evening at the Met Opera's production of The Merry Widow with a close family friend who attended college with my in-laws. (Side-note: She suggested that we meet for a quick bite at the pizzeria/restaurant at Columbus Avenue and 68th St. There were three places that fit the description. Only in NYC right?) Reflecting on this past weekend and my evening of beautiful music and great company, I think about doing all of these activities with our children someday. How lucky they will be to have such a loving community of family and friends surrounding them. How exciting it will be to take day trips to New York City. How humbled I am by my own journey so far and all that is sure to come. I am so incredibly thankful in this moment.

Friend, teacher and artist: Denise Halpin

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David & (Casey)