Some of my writing friends participate in a weekly writing exercise hosted by Kate Maotaung called Five Minute Friday. Or #fmfparty on social media. I've done this in the past and here's an example. I've decided to use the five minute prompt for my Hometown Essays series about the recent trip to my hometown after way too long. Five minutes of free writing with no edits. Here are the links to Post#1 and Post #2.
I booked my flight "home" and sent the information to my aunt. She confirmed the day and time, and added:
I'm completely open while you're here. Let me know what you'd like to do.
Honestly, Hy-Vee crossed my mind (see post #1). They knew that already. Also, trips to the consignment stores, Goodwill and garage sales. The treasures of home. What I wanted most though, and what I did text back, was time with family. Growing up, our family life intersected with extended family in a major way. Major holidays, weekend gatherings, trips to the local swimming pool and Worlds of Fun. My cousins were my earliest and dearest friends.
You don't know how much you'll miss that until you don't have it anymore.
So, on Sunday night, we gathered at my aunts. It was last minute and attended by about 25 of us. There were scattered conversations, several family photos and Casey's pizza. The best part was the being together. We don't know that much about one another's daily lives. Our relationships aren't like that. We know there's family history, a ton of common ground, and a bond that ties us together. Blessed be the tie that binds.
I'm going a bit over my five minutes here but I want to share another part of this story. One of my cousins is closer in age to my little brother. He and his wife were expecting their first child. It was due at the end of this month so I didn't anticipate getting to meet the baby boy. They joined us for pizza that Sunday evening. Overnight, we got more rain (it's been that kind of spring). About 2 o'clock the following afternoon, we got news they had the baby. Ten days early! It was a delightful end to my visit with family. We'd gathered the evening before, and now we had a new one to celebrate. What a thrill to meet Lou before I headed back to Michigan.