FAMILY IS EVERYTHING.

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Today was one of those days where everything overwhelmed me. I was so busy at the office this morning that when I finally took a break thinking it would soon be time to go to the gym during lunch, I looked at the clock and realized it was 2 p.m.

As I sat in awful 5 o’clock traffic, I ran through the list of all the things that DIDN’T get done today.

Exhausted to the core, I pulled into my parents’ driveway and wearily walked inside. As I entered the kitchen, my dad looked at me with a smile and held his finger over his mouth as he signaled for me to peek around the corner into the other room. There sat my mom, singing and playing with EC and Ellie. My dad winked at me, handed me a glass of red and then turned around to continue preparing dinner.

Not only had my parents kept EC—who has been sick—every day this week, they also picked up Ellie Bug from school so I wouldn’t have to make two stops.

When EC finally caught a glimpse of me, she came running with arms wide open to tackle me with a hug. As I squeezed her tightly, I could smell the sweet scent of baby shampoo in her hair. She was already bathed and in her nightgown.

Ellie looked at me with that big gummy grin and tackled all the obstacles in her way to get to me. She squealed and patted my chest as if she was acknowledging my presence.

I decided to bathe Ellie at their house for ease of effort. As I ran the water, my mom walked in and handed me a fresh towel and wash cloth. Ellie splashed and played in the tub, smiling ear to ear.

I could tell Ellie was tired and read to be fed and put to bed. Before I could even finish asking if they had food for her, my dad had a plate, banana and fork on the counter ready for me to fix her dinner. I fed Ellie dinner as my mom handed EC yet another tissue to wipe her nose. As I cleaned up from feeding Ellie, my dad finished wrapping up the delicious dinner he had prepared for us to take home and enjoy. He grabbed my keys, started my car to war it up and loaded up our dinner and bags.

My mom hugged and kissed the girls and my dad carried EC out to the car. He buckled her in her carseat, and knowing she still had fever he said with a smile, “I’ll see you tomorrow, Emma Claire!”

We drove off as EC waved at the window shouting, “Byyyyyeeee Boppy!” When I got home, Chris had just finished unloading the groceries from his car. He smiled as he handed EC a box of candy canes to put on the Christmas tree.

After dinner, I took Ellie to her room to get her ready for bed while Chris and EC sat in the den cuddled under a blanket watching a movie. Chris quietly called me in to come look at EC. She was fast asleep in his lap with her face in her hands. We both laughed as we realized it looked just like the pose from one of her newborn portraits.

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While he took her to bed, Ellie got a burst of energy. She darted out of her room in a fast crawl, and I chased her—on my hands and knees. I crawled behind her saying, “I’m gonna get you!” She giggled uncontrollably, which made me fall out in a fit of laughter.

I sat down to take a relaxing breathe for the first time all day as I rocked Ellie to sleep. The three hours spent with my family this evening were just pure love. I was no longer overwhelmed with stress, but overwhelmed with love. Bad day? What bad day? That was all erased. I hope they know how thankful I am for their daily blessings they bring to my life.

I often say it but rarely stop to let the words resonate: Family. Is. Everything. 

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