My brother usually comes by our house every other Saturday to pick up the bills, whatever items we have picked up on sale for him (diet sodas, energy bars, cereal, etc), pet the kitties he left with us, dig through his files that are still here, and see how we're doing. On Wednesday, he emailed me that he was leaving for Austin and would be there the rest of the week, mentioning that his knees were hurting unusually badly. So Saturday, my very considerate husband suggested that he drop everything off because my brother was probably wanting to stay home after being out of town. So I called and made the offer. "ACCEPTED" J. said joyously. Then I decided I'd go along, because I wanted to see my brother's face and get my hug. I also wanted to wish my sister-in-law Happy Birthday and give her the chocolate bar we bought her at ALDI. No matter that her birthday is Monday the 15th.
When we arrived, my amazing sister-in-law was crouched in her front bed weeding. When we arrived, she went to the door to call to my brother, who came out and sat on the stoop with me. The four of us talked about quotidian stuff. How the acorns that fall on the lawn never seem to sprout, but every one that falls in our flower beds sprouts. Somehow we started doing little things in the yard. The guys raked the rest of the lawn. I pulled some oaks out of the bed nearest me while my sister in law worked on the other side of the porch. Then my husband and SIL were bagging the leaves while my brother and I talked about his trip to Austin, where he stayed and reminisced about my first apartment there. Then while we all talked about my step nephew's little fender bender -- as my brother put it, it would really have been minor except for what he hit, a brand new Lamborghini-- my husband started pulling baby oaks to my left, my SIL on my brother's right, while my brother kept calling the two of them "baby oak killers."
Yesterday was the first truly casual visit to their house. No holiday dinner, no birthday celebration, just Saturday chores. We spent a couple of hours there, just being family together. Then we left, stopping at the local Trader Joe's to see what they have and the prices. Way too crowded at that hour, but we did pick up a candy mint and a pineapple mint we didn't have. I think I'll call and find out when they have the least traffic before I go back.
All in all, it was for me a wonderful, casual, relaxed day that I will put in my memory box with the childhood family beach days, and family road trips, summer evenings with family while the adults talked, and we kids ran about chasing fireflies and tossing stones in the air to see the bats swoop in after what they thought were big juicy bugs. Days spent surrounded by those we love, doing nothing but being together.