What do you get when you put 14 people in a cabin built to accommodate 10 people? A great weekend!! I'm sure most families would say I don't think so and in fact, a few years back I don't know if our family would have survived such close quarters. But, when you're living with cancer and ALS you have an entirely different outlook on everything.
This past weekend we spent two nights at Double JJ Ranch with my family which includes my parents, my brother and sister and their families. Together we had 8 adults and 6 children. It was very cozy! Our family has become much closer because of Eric and my health issues. This weekend brought us even closer than before.
We had a ton of fun at the water park! I think I got more exercise this weekend than I did the entire year of 2007! I pulled muscles I didn't even know I had. We also had a great time at the cabin - laughing so hard we cried. I thought I knew my family well but being in close quarters I was able to learn even more.
My dad took pictures for the Double JJ website and rather than receiving payment for this, he put it towards credit at the ranch which is what paid for our vacation. He is still working to provide for his family - not only his family but their families as well. Thank you Dad! My mom stepped way outside her comfort zone by wearing a bathing suit (I think many of us can relate to that!) so she could spend time with us at the pool. She even went down the slides with us! Go Mom!
I watched my sister-in-law as she was very careful not to throw away anything that can be recycled and brought it back home to recycle. There was also some quiet time after Carlos was asleep and the "big" kids were at the pool that she used to work on her bible study. I could tell it wasn't because she felt obligated to do it but because she wanted to.
I watched Kevin float around the lazy river by himself spinning in circles and having a great time just being a big kid. He and Stephanie took turns helping Carlos in the pool but even when he was on his own, Kevin was either going down the rides with his nephews and nieces or having a blast by himself.
I was able to get a better understanding of what life is like for Lori and Eric as well. Because Eric can't use one arm and the other arm has very limited use, he relies on Lori for a lot of things. I was amazed at their routine and how well they work together. I have always been frustrated when I have to rely on others for help but Eric has a great attitude and I saw very little frustration. He handles it with dignity and takes it all in stride. The only time I saw him get worked up this weekend was while watching the Red Wings. I'll never understand why men yell at the television!
I know there are a lot of families out there that aren't dealing with such life changes that our family is, but really, none of us know what tomorrow brings. I encourage you to look at your family closely. Look past the flaws and see the good. Enjoy your family and enjoy life. They are both gifts and I know I am very thankful for them.
We took tons of pictures - Brian will get them posted tomorrow.