The best part about Seattle is that most of my family still lives there. Here is a little background. I live on a street that has 4 houses on it and a cold-a-sac at the end. We have a joke that the street should be named Miller Lane because 3 of the 4 houses belong to my family. The other house belongs to our neighbors from our previous house which means they have been our neighbors for about 20 years which makes them like family. My dad has 2 brothers (who own the other two houses on the street) as well as two sisters. I grew up with my cousins just 2 houses away so they are like brothers and sisters to me.
Then on the other side of the family, my mom's side, she has 12 kids in her family. Most of them still live close so I have lots of Aunts and Uncles (but mainly Aunts because 8 of the 12 were girls) around. A few have passed on but many of them are still around and up for a party. So that's what we did. We had a family BBQ in our backyard and almost everyone came. It was great and even my younger cousins (who are now 15 and 17 came to spend time with Jack and me).
We also got to spend a lot of time with my brother which was nice because last time I was in town, which was over a year ago, Adam only saw me for 1 day. He has been through a lot and made some mistakes but now he has cleaned himself up and is doing well. I am so proud of him and what he has accomplished over the past year. When I was 16 my dad passed away and my brother is my main link to him. He reminds me so much of my dad and even looks like him sometimes which makes me really happy because Jackson needs a link to his grandfather. My dad was a great dad and I know he would just be thrilled with Jack, so it is always a little hard to go home knowing he is not there. But my mom has a boyfriend Derek who is incredibly good for my mom and the best with Jackson. He loves Jack so much and I always refer to him as my stand-in dad.
One thing that my brother, mom and I did was visit the cemetary where my dad is burried. I haven't been there in probably 5 years so it was really nice to go. It is hard because a lot of our family is burried around each other in that cemetary so I realize how many people in our family we have lost. But, I needed to go and put some flowers on the grave, say a little prayer, and spend some time remembering my dad. I think about him everyday of course but I don't always take the time to reflect on what a wonderful father and role model he was to me. He made me the person I am today, even after he is gone I know I would not be where I am now had he not passed away. When someone close to you passes away you learn something new. One thing I learned was to always tell people how I feel about them especially people that are close to me. I always say I love you to Jack and Brandon whenever I go anywhere. Even if it just down the street or a quick phone call. You never know when the last I LOVE YOU will happen.