This past weekend, spent in Egg Harbor, was a true celebration of the family that Dwain and June built.
I doubt either of them could have imagined what this family would come to be, but what it is today is absolutely the epitome of love. That was perfectly clear as all 42 of us gathered together on our last evening in Door County to take pictures and watch the family continue to evolve (it's not every day or every gathering where someone proposes!). The Runnells mantra, it seems, is come as you are. And everywhere I looked this weekend, that is what I saw, people who were happy, simply happy. There were no pretenses and no expectations - it was the best and simplest kind of fun.
|stopped for a first night treat|
|Art Barn - our Thursday morning activity|
|one of many sunsets we watched|
|Katy really captured the essence of everyone|
And even still, we packed more into this one weekend than it seemed possible. We made crafts at a local art barn; we visited lighthouses, state parks, and the harbor; we ate well and drank well; we went kayaking and walked on the beach; we played cards and watched sunsets; we took over the pool and nearly an entire wing of the resort. We were family.
|kayaking on Lake Michigan - our Friday morning fun|
|Peninsula State Park|
|out for a hike|
|our adventuring crew|
Justin, Ruth, Katy, MJ, AJ, Jeff, and Brian
|work, work, work, work, work -- on prepping avocados|
|what family dinners looked like :)|
In a few weeks, I will have officially been a Runnells for a decade, but I've felt like a Runnells from my very first introductions. Never, not once since the time I was introduced into the mix, was I asked to step aside or overlooked. Brian, obviously, was family, and I, too, was family - immediately.
One of my most cherished experiences of the weekend involved reflecting on this very concept (thanks, Katy, for the great compliment circle). To Katy, Annie, Becky, Ruth, Charlie, Maryann, Mary Jo, and Ann, I was so deeply touched by all of what you said, and I hope you know how very much each one of you means to me (Charlie, I'm going to wear my bad-ass badge extremely proudly for....well, forever!). In each of you I see something I hope to be, and I love you all. We are bettered by the people who walk beside us through life, and truly, I am a better person as an Unti-Runnells than I ever could have been if Brian's proposal were what I had actually anticipated, a puppy.
|some of the Runnells men hanging out at sunset|
|our Friday night sunset crew|
|how we spent our Saturday: ferry, ferry, hike, ferry, ferry|
|Gov Buds for Life: gotta love Parks and Rec!|
|Bill Runnells' crew|
|Dwain and his kids|
|the Runnells cousins|
|The whole gang -|
And while one person wasn't with us physically, her presence was perhaps the greatest one of all. I know Grandma June was looking down upon us all this weekend. She must have been so proud to see her family together. I certainly was proud to be a part of it all!