Grateful and then some.

Tuesdays are my gratitude days. Lately, I've tried to post my grateful list on Tuesdays, after posting a Daybook on Mondays. My life has spun in such a dizzy whirl since Friday that all I can muster this morning is, "um, what day is it?"

It's Tuesday, so I must be grateful.

Let me take you back, mostly without pictures because I've forgotten my camera pretty much all weekend. As my extended family sends me pictures, perhaps I'll add them here. In the meantime, my graduation pictures of my own son are  blurry beyond recognition. I've got a good one of my friend, Ruthie. She glows joy. But it would be sort of odd to put her up here and leave Michael out. Besides, she's on the trip of a lifetime in Europe right now, so I can't even ask if she'd like to be my token graduation picture, beautiful as that would be...

Friday, we celebrated Michael's graduation. Michael has six grandparents--Mike's mom and dad, my mom and stepfather, and my dad and stepmother. They were all there to watch him graduate. How amazing is that? I will admit to goosebumps when Pomp and Circumstance was played, but I didn't cry (everyone around me did). I attribute that to the fact that he really graduated in December and we've already processed it. At the end of graduation, I got a text. As much as I hate people who are tied to their phones, I had left several sick children at home and encouraged Mary Beth to text and let me know how things were. I plead guilty to texting with Michael during graduation, also. It kept things interesting while 1700 names were called. 

The text made me cry. It was Paddy.

Patrick is coming home. The Big Adventure has come to a close. And that long year is over. Really, I'm still processing. And I don't know how much I'll share here. He's healthy (except for a broken foot); he's whole; he's grown in so many ways. And in 4 hours and 13 minutes, he will be home. This was a burst of emotion for which I was not prepared on a weekend that I knew was going to be filled with emotion.

Michael talked to Paddy on our way from graduation to the party and so did I. Mike had insisted several weeks ago that we do the graduation party somehwere that wasn't home. This is definitely a departure from the  usual around here and I was a bit bothered by it, but when we hit upon the idea of having it at the local sushi restaurant, I knew we had a winner. Those good people were nearly excited about Michael's graduation as we were and they were genuinely honored to celebrate it with us. Lunch was awesome; the company wonderful and all was well.

Saturday afternoon, we celebrated my youngest nephew's first communion. It was the most beautiful First Communion I have ever been blessed to witness. Just perfect. After, we returned to my sister-in-law's house for a cookout. It's always a genuine party when the cousins are together. Mike and I scooted out early in order to go home, change clothes and drive across the river to Maryland to celebrate my oldest nephew's Bar Mitvah.

His was a huge party at Congressional Country Club. My sets of parents were there, and my aunts, and a couple hundred other people. My sister is, by far, the most amazing party planner in the world. Sh'ed been working on this one for eighteen months and every moment of that labor showed. She did a beautiful job and Mike and I really enjoyed a rare date night. We went home, slept fast, and then awoke to the regular Sunday activities, plus a seventieth birthday party for my mother.

I do wish I had pictures of that one. My sister's house looked so lovely. Huge and many bouquets of spring's finest flowers stood in the centers of poolside tables clothed in hot pink. Brunch was delicious; the cake--a lovely square confection of chocolate draped with white fondant and wrapped in a huge pink fondant bow--was too pretty to eat. But I hear it tasted as good as it looked. I consoled my wheat-free self with several cup of coffees with whipped cream floating on top, stirred with cinnamon sticks. The kids swam. Mike and I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with favorite friends who were neighbors when I was in high school. And, I dearly love my aunts, so it was nice to have a chance to talk away from the loud band of the previous night. Just before we left, my niece, who is graduating this spring, gifted Mary Beth with an entire high school career's worth of formal dresses--beautiful gowns that have just begun to dance. My mother was very happy and the weekend ended on a good note.

I spent yesterday cleaning--going to my sister's impeccably kept and beautifully decorated house does that to me;-). We thought Patrick would be home at the end of the week. I have this thing about children coming home to clean and orderly homes that look like they are ready for most important guests. i figured we'd take the week to get ready. Around dinnertime, though, he called and casually asked if I'd be available to meet him at the airport this morning. Would I?! I'll bring the gang with me. Pretty sure I'll remember the camera, too.

And then, the rest of the week will be devoted to settling everyone in for the summer. For the first time ever--ever--all nine of them are living at home for the foreseeable future. I think I just heard the upstairs bathroom groan. And I'm sure I heard the dining room table sigh a happy, happy sigh.

A place for everyone, and everyone in his place.