Celebrating Family… by Chelsea

A group of people standing around each other.

I’m updating you today from my office. Even though it is dark and dreary outside, clouds rolling by and raindrops smacking my window every few minutes, my office is light and airy. Today is my first day back to work since last Wednesday after a long weekend. You would think this would mean my office may not be cheery; however, I just spent hours with my family celebrating my oldest niece graduating from high school. Who can complain about that? Especially when I visited with my grandpa and grandmother for the first time in around three years!

Monday was an average day of work for both Jake and me. We started Tuesday morning off early, though! by meeting with Grandpa, Jerilyn, and my mother for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. I’ve never really preferred Cracker Barrel myself, but my husband loves biscuits, and it’s a sentimental place for me. Several years ago, before my father passed, we started a new “tradition,” which would be every time I visited Virginia or he visited Tennessee. The morning we were to depart, we would send each other off with a Cracker Barrel biscuit. No matter how late we may have woken up, how much time we didn’t think we had, we would do this. Unfortunately, this only happened around 3-4 times before my life changed forever with his passing. Eating breakfast that morning with my family, one of them being my father’s father, I couldn’t help but think of what my dad would’ve ordered or what we would talk about. I glared at the two rocking chairs with a handwoven checker’s mat placed on top of a barrel in the middle of the dining area, next to a fireplace. My head suddenly filled with memories of being many years younger and playing checkers with my dad in that exact spot. I wonder if Cracker Barrel doesn’t change its layout for this very reason. All the families that share meals and create memories at this establishment. However, this may be an old-fashioned way of thinking. It may simply be a financial strategy to save money and escalate their profits. Either way, I try to be a glass-half-full kind of girl, so I will think it’s the more meaningful reason of the two.

Tuesday, we attended a concert scheduled months ago in our eagerness to be back out in the world safely. Jake and I enjoy concerts more than almost anything else that we can go out and do. He is a musician, and he’s played guitar and the drums since he was around eight years old. He plays pretty well and thoroughly enjoys it. He almost pursued it full time but decided on a more unadventurous way of life. However, with no hesitation, if the option presented itself for him to take that career path, I would happily pack our bags and our 65-pound puppy up for life on the road!

Wednesday, we returned home from the concert and started work early, but the rest of the week was like a stay-at-home vacation! We shared lots of laughs, food, and memories with family and friends. I know I am still young; however, seeing my niece graduate where I did just 11 years prior sure makes me feel like an adult! I remember little from my graduation, but I remember how young Randi was back then. It’s strange how some things seem so long ago, but you remember them as if they were much closer in your life timeline. I hope that the memories I created this week with my family mostly remain that way, always fresh in my mind, and bring a smile across my face and heart.