About a month ago my brother, Bobby, sister-in-law, Paige, and their two daughters moved two blocks away from us. I expected having them close would be fun and awfully convenient but what I hadn't anticipated was a deepening of my appreciation for the four of them. In this photo is my beautiful and bright-eyed niece, Isabelle, who we now, because of a next to nothing commute, have the joy of seeing often in our inflatable pool, riding a scooter on our front sidewalk, or eating freeze pops in our loud and sweltering kitchen. She and her younger sister, Janie, are a huge part of my own children's lives and I treasure their fierce loyalty to one another. "Hi, what are you doing?" I ask Paige on the phone for quite possibly the third time in any given day. I have nothing specific to tell her, but it doesn't matter. We are family, and just knowing she's up the street available to hear my blabbering (which in all actuality is a very crucial outlet for my frustration or worry or loneliness) is comforting. It is nice to be known as you truly are and loved anyway.
1 week ago