I can imagine they are still here. The visit comes back in a rush of emotions – transient traces of their presence waft unexpectedly by – the familiar scent of mom’s lotion, a flash of Abbie’s long fingers upon the refrigerator door, soft whispers behind a closed door, and the fuzzy glow that seemed to come over a room whenever Briar was near Abbie.

As I type this, I look through our door on to Grandpa’s porch. Just beyond the steps he took as he embarked each day on a walk around the house, sits a sweet little bush. Its variegated leaves are the color of lemon sorbet and chalkboard, and they dance in the breeze, drawing my eye again and again. My mom planted it with Sean, they spent the day toiling together in the yard. I listened as they went back and forth, working and ribbing. Briar and Avery happily played with blocks at my feet while I gave in to the pull of a gratitude. I felt the enormity of this simple yet complex thing, this new branch of family. They did not choose one another, but in their devotion for me, they loved and worked. So as I sit and reflect on the visit and that little bush dances and flourishes before my eyes, I give profound thanks for the blessings in my life.

For the ginger steps my grandfather took.
The love of a sister for her nieces.
The hard earned bond between mother and husband.
The presence of mind to be aware of it all.