I've nearly recovered and am definitely renewed from the annual "Rank Family Christmas" and I smile whenever I think of my time, our conversations, the laughs and the fun. A visit from Santa, a photo booth, a keg of Bud Light, Card Bingo, a Holiday Puzzler and Who Am I? games! This group rocks! 43 of the 53 made their way to Cedar Rapids. There was so much to celebrate - two new babies celebrating their first Christmas, two babies that most of us haven't seen taking steps, a baby announcement!, a newly married couple, a newly engaged couple, an impending retirement, and one of our favorites upstairs in a hotel room battling a debilitating cold.
I guess you would say "LIFE" is happening all around us.
It hit me hard when we were gathered in church, as I saw the familiar family faces returning from Communion. Everyone has their ups and downs, their challenges and their reasons to cheer. This is always a sentimental time, a hard time when we remember our personal losses, and especially this raw time, as we learn the news of another senseless school killing involving dedicated teachers and innocent children. But getting together with people who know your life and your loves, and support you through all of it, that is priceless and I really do recognize this unique bond as a huge blessing in my life.
We don't have too many chances to get together as a family, and I value it, and look forward to it, every time. It's why I didn't go to sleep until 3 and was back up by 7 - every minute matters. It is a thrill to belong to something this big and wonderful, and I'm very grateful and proud to be an original.