Monday night, we arrived at the family's home, thirty minutes earlier than we had planned. We had tried to give ourselves enough time to get there and to locate their home. They welcomed us in. My girls immediately latched onto "Cosette". Her parents told me she is the neighborhood babysitter, because she is so good with kids. She was very sweet and patient with Tyler, Rachel and Olivia. Right away, she got out some of her favorite Christmas gifts, which included some fun hats like the one Tyler is wearing in the first picture. She also introduced us to her cat.
The second picture shows Garrett playing with their cat. According to Cosette, the cat doesn't like guys (including her brother), but it seemed to get along just fine with Garrett. Her brother and his wife were unable to be there for our reunion. They spent the holiday break with his wife's family in another state.
It was fun to see Cosette and her parents in their home, fun to watch them interact, nice to be able to recognize and enjoy the traditions and other things that bond them together. It is also nice to know that they are active in the church and strong in the Gospel, as I hope seeing the faith of our family is comforting to them, as well. After a delicious dinner, during which sweet Olivia could not get enough bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar (she considered it a special treat), we sat down at their table and looked through some old pictures and albums.
I really loved seeing pictures of that sweet little girl with her parents. All the pictures I was allowed to receive were of her only. I even have one of her with her father in which his head was cut out. Being able to see the love and the joy in her childhood, the bond they shared as a family, was such a gift. I also shared the album that I saved of the letters and pictures which they had sent to me. Cosette had fun looking at happy pictures of herself, which she says they gave all to me, because she remembers seeing plenty of sad, sour-faced pictures, since she was always throwing up as a baby. Of course, they have duplicates of the pictures they gave to me, so I am not the only one with the happy pictures.
All in all, it was a lovely evening. Before we made this trip, several people who knew it was coming have asked me if I was nervous. I would always tell them I wasn't really nervous; just excited. But when the time finally came that we were coming to their home, going to meet her for the first time--yes, I realized I was nervous. Would she like me? Would her parents be okay with our whole family taking over their lives this week? I just didn't know how it would go. Would it be awkward? Would we all sit around not knowing what to say?
But her family was so welcoming. It was like greeting long-lost friends. It was a really nice time to spend with good people we love. I am so thankful for the good people that they are, and their willingness to love and accept me and my family. Olivia has been telling everyone that her biggest Christmas present this year was that she was going to get to meet Cosette. Yes.
BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!