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The Gift Of Family...
by Lisa Velez
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June 19, 2004
By: Lisa Velez

“The Gift Of Family”

I just got home from going out with my parents and sister. We all went to “The Crossings”, which is an outside mall in Stroudsburg, Pa. Basically people walk around outside and check out all the stores individually. It’s pretty cool. There are trees everywhere and flowers in bloom softly fragranced, and the mountainous backdrop really gives one a sense of serenity and calmness. It’s a good getaway from the ordinary jungles of life.

Well, besides the few times my Dad was overstressed over nothing today, as usual when we go out, my Mom, Dad, Sister and I actually had a great time. We had lunch in one of their two food courts that they have on the grounds and we shopped around. Yesterday, and the few days prior to it, the weather had been so hot and humid. Yet today, the weather was just right, as the sun shone in the background of a beautiful blue sky, surrounded by the whitest clouds I hadn’t seen too much of lately. There was the most perfect cool breeze and it was so happily blowing against all our faces that even the birds couldn’t stop singing, and that’s no exaggeration. I mean the birds were singing like they’d all had just a little too much sugar or caffeine for lunch, but it was such an extraordinary sound. It does a weary heart good to hear the songs of God’s creation playing all around.

After we shopped for a while and had some ice cream, my family and I decided to leave and go to another part of Stroudsburg, only about ten minutes away to have a light dinner at a place called, “The Peppermill,” where we’d eaten many times as a family in years gone by. As we sat all together, my sister and I continued playing hangman, as we’d been doing in the car before we got to the restaurant. We were having such a good time guessing each other’s phrases, places, and so much more that eventually my Mom and Dad even joined in on our fun. Suddenly, the whole family was playing together, laughing and sharing a good time, something we all hadn’t done in a long time. My sister and I even tried recalling the last time that the four of us actually sat down and played or talked together. It’s a shame that we couldn’t remember. But, nevertheless, we had the time of our lives and all it took was a simple game and the sound of our laughter intertwining together to create a beautiful song. My Mom was even on a roll during one of her turns in the game as the one “trying to hang us” and think of a phrase or whatever it was for us to guess. What was funny was that as my Dad, Sister and I took turns and were wrong every time, we began to loose hope, for we were almost out of letters left to guess to solve the puzzle. The funny thing was that, my Mom realized after my Dad guessed the brainteaser that she had forgotten to put some the letters that we had guessed. For example, when My Dad asked for an “S”, my Mom only put one instead of two, and the same thing with “A.” It was so funny, my Mom was almost crying as she laughed holding her hand over her mouth, turning red. We all had such a great time at dinner.

Then, on the way home, my Dad had an old favorite tape on in the car of “George Burns” and my Sister and I were singing in the background, if one could call it that. We sounded more like we were screeching because we were just goofing off in the back seat of Dad’s car, as we waved our hands to the music from side to side. Eventually, our Mom even joined in and my Dad kept trying to repeat our favorite songs just to get us singing and swaying again. He even started calling us by the name of an old singing group, “The Harmonettes.” It was so funny. My Mom just sat in the front seat shaking her head back in forth smiling at her two kooky daughters behind her who were acting as though, they themselves had ingested too much sugar or something!

It’s been such a long time since we’ve enjoyed a family trip that much. Even though it started out a little bumpy, as far as communication goes, our little voyage, for the most part was awesome! We made each other laugh and we did things together. We usually spend time arguing or crying over something someone said or did. And even though our little trip started out that way, this time, however, we were able to pull through it and be ourselves enjoying each other’s company.

Life is so short. To God, it is no more than the blink of an eye. And I don’t want to miss any precious time that we have together with our loved ones by losing it all to arguments and tears. We just shouldn’t take advantage and think, “Oh maybe tomorrow things will be better.” How do we know for sure that there’ll be a “tomorrow” to speak of?

Not to be philosophical or anything, but as I sat there with my family, having a wonderful afternoon and evening, I smiled from ear to ear. And usually, that’s not what happens when all four of us are together. It was like old times, the times before our hearts were broken and tensions arose between us, meaning my Dad with us girls, my Sister and I. If only Dad would learn to enjoy life and not take everything for being tragic and overreact to things. If only he would just let his hair down (or what he has left) and just let the day take him away to a place where anger and fear do not exist, only love.

“Thank you, God for this precious day to be together, as the family unit that you’ve created us to be. I thank you that we enjoyed our time together. May there be more times like this in the future. Bless my family and help them to know how much I love them now and always will. In Your name, Jesus I pray. Amen.”

I’m so happy that God woke me up this morning to partake in the gift of this day.

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