I hope you are reading this while enjoying time with your precious family, or while drinking margaritas by the pool. I am working all weekend, and Monday I was be conquering (yes, conquering) my first holiday alone as a restaurant manager. It's going to be great, I can feel it. - hopefully I'll survive.
But let's rewind to how I used to spend my labor day weekends. Every labor day weekend my family from Kentucky rented a huge log cabin in the Smoky Mountains. When I say huge, I mean one year there was a room dedicated to all the kids and it was stocked with 10 bunk beds! Needless to say, we didn't get much sleep that weekend.
(Just a small amount of cousins piled onto bed with Aunt Emma)
These vacations were sometimes the highlight of my year. Our weekend was always jam packed with things to do, but my favorite part was just being with family. And not just any family. I only "belonged" to this family because my Aunt married my Uncle. But everyone took my Sister and I in the moment they laid eyes on us. We were treated just as loving and perfect as all the other kids. We gained aunts, uncles, cousins, memas, and papas, and it was everything I had ever dreamed of.
(there are no words)
When I woke up in the morning I could smell freshly brewed coffee and crispy bacon. I could softly hear Mama Lou and Aunt Emma chatting about what they were reading in the paper that morning. I would stumble up to the family area still half asleep, only to cuddle up with Aunt Debby or Aunt Jen, whoever was easily accessible. (Even then it took me 30 minutes or so to wake up) As everyone would start to wake up we would have breakfast and talk about our plans for that day. Who was going where, what car they were riding in, where we would meet up if we were splitting up. All the kids would run and play while we were waiting on the adults to get ready. Whether it was a game of tag, or a game of pool we were bouncing off the walls from morning to night. We would go shopping during the day, hitting up an arcade was a must, and after dinner sometimes we would see a comedy show. (As if our family wasn't a comedy show in itself) We would come back to the cabin at night to grub on the endless amount of snacks everyone brought, and hop in the hot tub for just long enough to say we were in a hot tub. Going to sleep at night was hard because I wanted to soak up every minute of these trips before I had to venture back home miles away from the family I spent my entire life dreaming of being a part of.
(we were so stylish)
I don't think anyone in that family understands the life-long impression they've made on my life. They taught me the true meaning of family, they gave me somewhere to belong, and something to believe in. I am forever grateful to my Aunt Debby and her family for taking on my sister and I as her/their own. No matter where I am each labor day weekend, I will always wish that I am back in that cabin surrounded by people filled with so much love.