Monday, December 9, 2013

Our New Family!

While we grieve the loss of Melinda's sister Susan, it has initiated some unexpected benefits.  Actually, it goes back a little further to Melinda's lung cancer diagnosis - one of the surprises we got were some notes of support from Susan's estranged children, Kathy and Rick.  I won't get into the family dynamics, but after disappearing from her life for 14 years, she has told me more than a few times that the best thing about getting her cancer diagnosis is the reconnection to her niece and nephew.  They spent a lot of time together when the kids were growing up, so it was difficult for her when they separated.  The picture at left was taken in October at their first meeting this century, and the reunion culminated when we went to Rick's house this trip to meet the rest of the family!

Kathy is unattached, but Rick is married with two lovely girls.  At left, Rick's wife Susan poses with their oldest daughter Lily.  Not far away is their baby girl Emmy (9 months!), who is visibly frustrated because she can only crawl backwards!  You can tell she'll be a ball of fire when she figures out how to go where she wants!

They are dog people (we have cats...), so we were constantly under attack by loving puppies.  At left is Kathy's dog Jethro spending quality time with Melinda holding her new (to her) great niece Emmy.  At right is Aunt Maj (Melinda's sister) getting up close and personal to Rick and Susan's great dane Sadie.  Sadie is starting to get some hip issues, and having mobility problems, but she is a beautiful, if slow-moving giant of a dog.

It was a great evening and went a little late for a school night with conversation and getting to know our great-nieces.  We had some leftover birthday cake (from the last post) to share, and I got to enjoy some Lou Malnati's pizza for the first time (a Chicago classic, and one of my new favorites!).  It was great to have a renewed addition to our family and finally connect faces to people I've only heard about!  We are looking forward to spending much more time with our family!

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