Home is where your heart is.


You're either a hugger or you aren't, it's just that simple.  I feel blessed to say I am the former and our recent vacation provided an abundance of hugging opportunities.

The hugging commenced when we arrived on my in-laws doorstep after a 16 hour drive from Dallas, Texas to Milwaukee, Wisconsin more than a week and a half ago.  Arms wide open to us, their condo transformed into our home base and a comfy place of respite during our week long visit north.

After a short nap (so much to do, so little time...who has time to sleep on vacation anyway?), our first evening in town brought a warm set of hugs from my cousin and her family.  The sister I never had, Sharon and I share the same sense of humor and down to earth values.  These hugs also included our favorite pizza, frozen custard, wine and great conversation.

The following day we accumulated more hugs from family and friends as we continued to get reacquainted with hallowed Wisconsin ground.  On the heels of that, an enormous hug-a-thon ensued when Tom and I hosted our renewal of vows ceremony and reception.  The main purpose of our trip, we were enveloped by hugs from those who have been a part of the many phases our our lives.  Childhood, adolescence, former (and current) neighbors/coworkers, immediate as well as extended family.  Several of our guests had travelled great distances to grace us with their presence as we said "I Do" again after 20 years of marital madness.

The ceremony itself went as well as I could have hoped, kids all did a terrific job in their various roles.  Since the vows were meaningful (read: tear-inspiring), we decided to end the service with something more light-hearted:

[ I'm sure you can see how much time and effort went into practicing that little number...and no, we cannot be booked for your special event].

Okay, back to hugs.  They showed up in droves once again the next day at both my niece's baptism and my nephew's 9th birthday party.  Two different sides of the family, the hello and so long hugs went from sun up to sundown.

The next few days took us to our kiddos very favorite vacation destination, the Wisconsin Dells!  An entire town of water parks, amusement rides and chatzky shops, it is a must when we visit the state.  We went with our good friends and giggle buddies the Konles.  Of course the worst part of that little getaway was the inevitable goodbyes at the end of our stay.

Even more unfortunate were the hugs left to give that day.  We returned from the Dells to attend the funeral luncheon for our good friend.  TJ was one of three 18-year-old boys killed in a car accident.  He had just graduated from high school and was a regular amigo of our son Allen-Michael for many years.  He was an only child.  My hug to his mother, also a good friend, was one I hated to give and one I wished so desperately could have provided more than just a moment of love and support.  Tom and I both considered her red-headed son to be a special member of our family on many occasions.

Our return journey to Dallas included an overnight stay in St. Louis.  Virgins to the city, we had to take in "the Arch".  I am a closet claustrophobic (okay, not so much anymore...), so I readily accepted my daughter's request to sit on my lap as we rode up and down in the miniature pod.  I hugged her close as it was one of the longest 7 minutes of my life.

My final hug of our trip was not directed towards a human (although upon reflection I realize I need to address the man who paid for the trip and made all the previous hugs possible), it was directed at the hood of our 2003 Old Silhouette minivan.  Just shy of 155,000 miles, the "silver bullet" got us to and from the latest set of important and cherished family memories.

Hugs...through your embrace you speak a thousand words, without ever saying one.  Thanks to all of you who blessed me with your hugs this past week, if there were more of that going on the world would be a nicer place!