The family-packed weekend began with a Runnells family dinner followed by a trip to the Humboldt Park Beer Garden. While I am certainly lack in the 'beer drinking skills' department, I do my best to make up for it in the 'chat with everyone about everything' department, so our trip to the Beer Garden was not a wasted one. It was filled with lots of catching up with not only my in-laws but extended family, too. I got to hear about puppy parenthood, school years, and service work in Guatemala; and I got to reminisce about eating and drinking my way from Rome to Sorrento.
On Saturday, after a quick trip to the gym, Brian and I headed to my parents' house for our second annual Unti Summer Gathering. While we were missing a few of the crew, quite a few Untis spent the afternoon together; per usual, plenty of stories were told, and laughs were had by all. We're a diverse group, no doubt, but ever the Italian family, we're a tight-knit, we've-got-your-back family. And while all Unti gatherings will feel a little less complete now that we don't have Grandma with us, I am certain that her love, her memory, her spirit is in us all - and if you look closely enough at her kids, you see that sparkle in her eye shining through it theirs. By the time we headed home Saturday evening, I was tired beyond belief and had sore cheeks from smiling and laughing all day long. That, I would say, is a measure of a successful family gathering.
Sunday found us heading back to MukTown. Our first stop of the morning was for pancakes and planes. My father-in-law, who is a very talented man, flies planes, so we got to spend a bit of Father's Day at his favorite hang-out once again, the Palmyra Airport. There were three generations of Runnells men present, as Brian's grandpa came out for the flying fun, too. Grandpa closed out our visit by reminding us all that a day at the airport is never wasted. While the literal meaning was obvious, I also could not help but think of one of the last conversations Brian and I had with Grandma and Grandpa Runnells; we discussed their many adventures, and both of them encouraged us to never stop pursuing our dreams, to never stop exploring this world....so, I think it's time to board a plane soon - one that is much bigger than those we saw Sunday morning - and check another place or two off our to-visit list!
|Three generations of Runnells men|
After leaving the airport, we headed back to my parents' house to celebrate both Father's Day and my dad's birthday. Father's Day is surely about taking a moment to honor the person you call dad, and I certainly was not about to miss the chance to do exactly that. For as long as I can remember, nothing has made me happier than spending time with my dad. There may have been a short time in life when I didn't much like sharing him with my brother and sough any and every chance to have my dad to myself, and while I still love dad-daughter time, like we had Thursday when we went shopping for the family party, I have come to accept that he isn't all mine. He's an amazing parent to both my brother and me; he respects the ways in which his children are similar and is equally aware of how each of us is unique; and he, like my mom, is wonderful to my husband and always has been (let's not take too much time to remember the trip to Disney when all of the aforementioned individuals left me sick and alone in the hotel to ride Tower of Terror a dozen times in a row....and to purchase commemorative pictures of it). While everyone tells me I look just like my mom, anyone who knows the both of us will tell you I am just like my dad, and I take that as a mighty fine compliment! I don't know that I'll ever be able to express just how important my dad is to me, but it was nice to have the time - and a double-celebration day - devoted to doing exactly that.
|my dad, my hero (ignore the MU business)|