How did we spend our visit? Well, for much of it, it consisted of us enjoying lots of food and drinks. That's the Raskin Family way of course! But the best part was watching Phillip and Kimmy and my folks soaking in all the preciousness that is Raelynn. Phillip and Kimmy had last visited in January when Raelynn was 8 months old. She could crawl then but she wasn't walking. Now she runs all over the place and spouts out token phrases like, "Bye bye! See you soon!" Or, "Are you okay?" And yells out random words like, "Shoe!" So it's not surprising that my brother and sis-in-law were even more smitten with her this time. And Raelynn absolutely adored them too, of course. Here's some of my favorite moments:
My folks arrived the day after Phillip and Kimmy. And with their arrival, I realized this was the first time ALL of us were together in the same place. Over the last few years, it's always been some sort of combination of us all. Like, Phillip, Kimmy, Jeremy, Raelynn and me, but no Mom and Dad. Or Mom, Dad, Jeremy, Raelynn and me but no Phillip and Kimmy. Now here we all were. Eating, drinking and being merry. But of course, Jeremy and I had previously decided to take the opportunity to do something very important to us while we had everyone all together: have a small ceremony celebrating our marriage.
It just so happened that my folks had been planning their visit to fall on October 20th. That date has always been so horribly painful to us because that's the day Mom died. (For those of you who don't know the back story, I have 2 moms. One who passed away when I was a child and one who became my mom when I was a rotten teenager.) I had an idea: what if we renewed our vows on that day so we could include both of my moms? Would anyone be offended? Both my brother and father gave me their blessings for going ahead with it on this day. Other family members also found it a perfect tribute to Mom too. So it was settled.
Jeremy and I planned and stressed and stressed and planned. How anybody ever has a large ceremony and reception without going completely insane is beyond me. I was so relieved to just be having my immediate family and Jeremy's parents. No offense at all to any of my other wonderful relatives or friends. I don't see how the happy couple ever enjoys their wedding day with so many guests to talk to. It's YOUR day, right? Yet, you have to spend the whole time thanking everyone for coming and all that. I would have been miserable with a whole big affair. Somehow, we managed to get it together and were able to have it in a private dining room at the Shang Palace in the Shangri-La hotel, with flowers, a cake, an officiant and matching wedding bands. This turned out perfectly:
But soon, it was time for Phillip and Kimmy to go back to Singapore. And our hearts were heavy with sadness again. We still had Mom and Dad for another day and a half though. My father and I had been really looking forward to the Sunday brunch in his hotel. The food there is excellent but for this week, they were having a special lobster promotion. All you can eat everything AND all you can eat lobster. Oh yes! We all ate ourselves silly and Jeremy and I enjoyed watching Mom and Dad play with Raelynn.
We also got to show them our house, which they didn't have time to do the last time they were here. Raelynn of course showed her Papa and Mimi all of her toys.
We spent the rest of our time with them - you guessed it - eating and drinking. Before they left, we feasted on crab at the Japanese restaurant in the Shangri-La's business corridor. After that, it was very difficult to decide which of our meals had been the most sumptuous.
The whole time everyone was here, it was more than we could have hoped for. And as it was coming to an end, as all good things eventually do, my father showed me something that helped me in my sadness. He carries a little card in his wallet that reads: "Don't be sad because it's over. Be happy because it happened." It really spoke to me because I have always gotten so sad when visits like these end. I hate goodbyes. But now I have all these beautiful memories to treasure forever. And I will hold them dearly to my heart until I get to see my family again. Thank you all for everything. I love you all so much!