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Challenge: What Makes a Family?

The Dance

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When my oldest son was born my Grandmother showed up to the hospital overcome with tears of joy. She was meeting her first great grandchild and the magnitude of that was lost on me in my exhausted state of new motherhood.

As the exhaustion started to fade, oh who are we kidding it never fades, but as I began to come out of my fog, the magnitude of the oldest generation getting precious time with the youngest generation was far from lost on me.

With each day and year that passed I felt blessed. I never passed up a moment to capture my kids getting to know my Grandmother. They laughed together, they smiled, they joked, they hugged, and most importantly they loved one another.

I have so many memories captured in photos that I look back on often. She's been gone almost two years now, and these moments...these photos, mean more and more to me as the time passes. She taught them so much. She gave them an amazing gift of generational knowledge and I don't think it will be until they are grown, that they too will realize just how rare and amazing that is.

My oldest son is an old soul. He's been an old soul from day one. They connected on a level that even I didn't fully understand. It was truly as if they had known each other for all of eternity. They completed each other's sentences. My son never seemed phased that she was in fact "old." He saw her as his Nana, and he was full of joy the moment she walked into the room.

He's six-years-old in this photo. We were on vacation in Lake George, NY, our most favorite spot on the planet. It oozes with beautiful memories. The lake quite literally holds memories for my family, in its water and on top of its mountains. It is "our" place.

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One night after dinner, the music was playing, as it always is in our family, and my then six-year-old looked at me and said, "Mommy, I'm going to go ask Nana to dance. I want to teach her how. I've never seen her dance." I held back my tears as I nodded, knowing full well that my Grandmother most certainly knew how to dance.

My Grandfather passed away when my Grandmother was only forty-nine-years old. She spent way too long without a dance partner. I watched my oldest son walk up to my Grandmother and ask her if he could teach her to dance. She smiled a smile that I didn't even recognize. It was bigger than normal. It was harder for her to hide. She was glowing with joy and I stood in the corner of the room watching the oldest generation dance with the youngest generation, hiding my tears with only my camera.

It was a moment that I knew instantly was one I would never forget. They danced for thirty minutes while the rest of us looked on as if they were the only two in the room. Their smiles and joy were contagious. It was a gift. It wasn't wrapped up with a pretty bow, but it was one of the best gifts I have ever received.

When the oldest member of a family is blessed with time to get to know and love the youngest, everyone receives a gift. Life is a dance. My oldest son reminded us that day that every once in a while we need to stop what we are doing, listen to the music, and dance. You just never know when it will be the dance of a lifetime. It may just wind up being the greatest gift.

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