Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Home, full of love.

Remember this North Carolina, my home state of kindness and acceptance and love? That's the North Carolina I visited this weekend. I love my Outer Banks family, the way we laugh and cry together, the way we join forces for celebrations and for sorrow. This weekend, we celebrated. My Aunt Penny and her partner Allison - who fell in love as teenagers and reconnected twenty years later - had a commitment ceremony in their Outer Banks church, alongside their children. I was proud to be there, and prouder yet to call this family my own. But mostly I was thrilled to see my aunt with such a big smile on her face.

Have I mentioned that my dad is quietly the best toastmaster of all time? He is. I should write about his haiku at our wedding; it's legendary. And there was his Forrest Gump toast at my sister's wedding, and his bridge metaphor at my brother's. In honor of my Aunt Penny, he began with farm tales and ended up with my late Aunt Jill, and how her life and her loss shows us how important it is to be happy while we're here. Somehow this was tied together by my Aunt Penny's childhood schemes for ice cream. My dad's toasts should not work, but they do, every time.

I've been missing my Aunt Jill so much lately. I know she's in each one of us, every single day, but some days the loss is still too tender to bear. T and I stayed at her house with my cousins over the weekend, and I found a book I loaned her when she was sick, my note to her still inside as a bookmark. We were both bookworms, both writers, both full of infertility issues, too - but that's a story for another day. She would've loved Penny's ceremony, whose "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" flash mob equaled her own church band rockin' out at her funeral in every possible way. Music unites those sisters, still. Speaking of sisters, my late aunt's daughters amaze me at every turn. (They also crack me up, as demonstrated below.)

I spent a lot of time this weekend thinking how hard family can be sometimes. It's also wonderful and worth it, but family can be tough. In those tough times, I want to do nothing more than to sit in a room with them all and just be. I think that's a good thing.

In our happy moments? I like to give hugs. Liam likes to give high fives. Take your pick.

Photos by Melissa Habit - isn't she awesome?


  1. Very sweet - I adore a story of lost love reunited!

  2. I would love to hear the story of how they reconnected!

  3. Perfect in every way Maggie. MOM

  4. Beautiful. I love that they reconnected so many years later. I wish them a lifetime of happiness.

  5. Beautiful, Maggie. Congratulations to your aunt!

  6. I'm dying over how adorable your aunt and her partner are, and I love the sentiments you shared about family. The rough patches sure are rough, but they make the happy so much happier.


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