So nice to feel like a part of my family's lives again. To know little idiosyncrasies about each other again. Like Chad laughing at how frazzled I get when Sonic the Hedgehog goes underwater and I have to find a giant bubble to prevent drowning. Like mom knowing what kind of hard-to-find soup I like to eat (Campbell's Mega Noodle). Like knowing dad keeps a giant spotlight in his bedroom in case hoodlums run through his backyard trying to steal his riding lawn mower.
So much hasn't changed around this house - only additions to junk piles. One thing has changed, pleasantly: they have the internet. I thought this vacation would be like Walden: no interruptions from the outside world. Luckily, I was wrong. I love being interrupted by the pressing nature of needing to see what's new online. Steve loves the blare of the television. They do have channels on one tv. Very few channels though, and not ESPN much to his dismay. Please don't say the words "Ohio State game" to him, as it's still a sore spot that he didn't watch it.
My little niece Saryn isn't so little anymore. She loves giving hugs and trying to kiss Steve (he pulls away every time, shyly; I guess the only girl he'll let kiss him is me). Today Joel turned 21. All of us kids are officially adults. I'm not sure that my parents will ever acknowledge it. There are pictures of us in our Christmas outfits every year at Kinderphoto lining the stairwell. Chad and I are always smiling. Amber is pouting. Joel looks bored. OK, so a few things have changed around here: us. But every time we're together, we remember our former selves: the ones when we became friends and bonded over our shared family name. And time won't change that. It will just remind us how long and through what we've remained friends.