Joy Lessons Week 13

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On Thursday, I set aside all my to-do lists and worries about deadlines, climbed in my car, and made a five-hour drive to spend the weekend with some of my favorite people on the planet.

I have to tell you – there is so much joy in spending time around people who know you (really know you) and love you, faults and all.

As we shopped our way through a mall, we tried to recall when we first began taking these trips together. It started back around 2006 (give or take a year). My cousin Brad called and discussed doing something special and fun for his mom. I was all ears.

Brad is one of those super nice, incredibly sweet all-around great guys you are thrilled just to know. Add in the fact that his mom, my wonderful Aunt Robbie, has been like a second mother to me for my entire life, and I couldn’t refuse whatever it was he was going to ask.

My most wonderful auntie has always been extra special to me. I was born the day after Aunt Robbie’s birthday, we share the same middle name, we both love the color pink and have yet to find a mall we didn’t like.

Aunt Robbie was blessed with two boys, but no girls. So Brad proposed a few of us girl cousins do something fun with Aunt Robbie. We plotted and planned and ended up with four of us girls taking Aunt Robbie for an overnight stay in a cute little town with fun shops, great food, and a nice hotel. It was bliss!

My three cousins are daughters of my Dad’s two other sisters, both of whom have passed away. Aunt Robbie became “Mom” to us all on that trip. With each of us she loves, laughs, cries, teases and counsels – and that just makes us love her all the more.

We had such a great time on that first trip, we decided to make it an annual event. We all look forward to the time we can spend with each other, reconnecting, sharing memories, shopping, eating and enjoying the company. Our little group includes my cousins Julie, Nancy and Twylia – all fun, fantastic women in their own unique way- and Aunt Robbie.

Brad’s girlfriend, Brenda, was able to join us this year and brought even more fun to our group.

These women know how to laugh and cry. They know how to offer encouragement and support. They know how to tease and be teased. And they really know how to shop.

As we packed up our cars and prepared to head our separate ways home, we were already discussing plans for next year.

I think we all look forward to it and just enjoy that special time we have to connect, relate, and deepen our bonds of kinship and friendship.

No matter if you gather with one or a dozen, whether they are family or friends, I think everyone needs a special weekend now and again to reconnect, to grow, to just be and celebrate the joy of spending time with special people you love.

It does your heart and spirit so much good!

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