Come away to where the land ends and the great sea begins, to the wave washed, rocky shores of the northwest coast. Come by air, by foot, by whatever means it takes. Borrow the money, put it to credit, hitch a ride with someone you love, share points, bring along the hugs and good wishes of those who can not attend, this time. Find a way, ask for loan, speak the truth that your soul needs the sea, or the embrace of your far flung family. Swallow your pride and ask for the price of a ticket or at least send a representative. Make a way to be there. It's a wedding, a joining of families.
I love this group picture, for some reason. It is flawed, surely; too much light, movement. But I love the mix of faces and families it contains, pieces of family from Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Finland! squeezed into the same shot, each with their own story, separate and unique, but bound by ties of blood and love, happy to be walking the beach together.
And baby Alice, carried in her parent's arms and carrying her great-grandmother's beautiful name to the gathering. Every family gathering needs some wee little ones who have no knowledge of separate families or distance or history. Toddlers bring their sweet innocence and simple love of people into the room. Everyone is equally gifted with smiles and hugs. Good job, Miss Alice Pearl. You brightened our time together with your shining love of life.
Perfect weather all week-end (what a miracle!) for lazy afternoons wading, playing in the sand and visiting with relatives. When I see these of pictures of the spouses and families of the spouses of Mom and Dad's grandkids, I flip the experience I had in that moment, with what I imagine their experience must have been. They didn't grow up with these cousins and therefore have no childhood memories to share. They are part of our family now and are making memories now, just as we are now part of their family and are building history whenever we meet for a celebration or a meal or to sing before the candles on the cake. But I know it must feel different for them, being in the midst of all that chatter and laughter and the 'remembering when'. I know it does, having been in that spot many times with Danny's family.
Mark and Scott, we saved a place in the frame for you guys because we know you would have come if it had been a slightly different time or place. See, one of you would be on the left and the other on the right.
And for Dad, since he was not here to see them, the beautiful Shurtz sisters, all in pink and white. Below are these two newly minted cousins, Bailey and Ashley. Neither of them has a sister to run and play and pretend with, and now they have each other, which is almost as good, and a week to spend in each other's company. Hooray!