Monday, December 31, 2012

As families grow up

In the scheme of my entire vacation, the moment would have appeared inconsequential at first glance:

Mom, Dad, Ben, Lea and I were purchasing tickets for the Keystone Ferry to Port Townsend, on our way to pick up Ben's girlfriend Hilary.  The man in the ticket kiosk asked if any of us were under 18 and of course, Dad said that no, none of us were under 18.

How on earth is that possible?  When did that happen?

The thought struck me then, and has continued to occupy my mind since.  Lea, the youngest of the Gibson kids, will turn 20 in a matter of days.  Ben is 24, and I'm 26.  It registered with me in that moment that we were traveling as a family of grown-ups.  None of us is a permanent resident of our parent's home, the home of our childhood, any longer.  We live our day-to-day lives in very different settings, separated by land and sea, and had the privilege to converge on this special place for a few fleeting days to celebrate Christmas together.

The last time we'd taken a ferry together was in the Summer of 2010, on our way to a favorite vacation spot on Vancouver Island.  Our family trips to the cabin by the beach were a beloved tradition, and 2010 marked our 5th trip to the cabin in 7 years, a 7 years that saw me pass from high school to college to a career overseas, my brother, from high school to college, and my sister from middle to high school.   The trip had become an ingrained part of our family routine, but we have not returned to the cabin since 2010.  Perhaps those days are behind us, as even simply spending time under the same roof has become tougher to coordinate.

Rather than mourn the apparent end of those family trips, and the moments of security that come from all being part of the same household, I find myself celebrating the time we spend together as a family, regardless of what we're doing.  Even sitting around the kitchen table together is harmony to be treasured.

As I prepare to return to Japan, I am so incredibly grateful that for 10 days, we could share meals, sing songs, worship at church, watch movies, play games, and simply sit around the table together as a family, no matter how much we've grown up or how far away we've settled.  Thank you, LORD!

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