The sessions I attended were one and all inspiring and encouraging and fed my soul.
And I loved hanging out with my people.
I loved chatting with my dear cousin Hannah between sessions. I don't see her nearly enough. (I also loved seeing Hannah and Olivia together. They look alike and act alike and have been good friends since they were little, little girls. They were college roommates and they are still sort of inseparable.)
I loved seeing my Aunt Olivia (Hannah's mom) and my cousin Britta and my cousins-in-law Ruth and Camille. I hadn't seen any of them for a long while.
And then of course there were my sisters and sisters-in-law and my mom and Clarissa. (We missed Jennifer!) There is just something peaceful and reassuring about being with these women who are strong and capable and wise.
It's always been a happy fact of my life that I can find my family members in a crowd. When I was a growing up, I could always find my dad. All I had to do was look up--and look for his hat. At Women's Conference, I was able to find Hannah at one point and Marianne the next day, using the same strategy. Having tall relations has its perks. But then being tall has its downside. Here's Marianne and her long legs in the Marriott Center where the rows of seats are close together.
Legs for miles need an extra row in front. Also, cute shoes, Marianne.
Tabor and his girls (who he was watching in Katie's absence) happened to be in town taking a horse to the vet. He joined us for dinner. When I got to the restaurant, I said, "I am meeting a group..."
The host said, "Cowboy hat? Mustache?"
Yep, that's my group.
Somehow Olivia and Marianne and Tabor and I ended up on one end of the table and somehow when we're together we all revert to a time when we were all ten years old. (There never was a time when we were ten years old at the same time, so we have to make up for lost ground.)
I told Tabor to smile and Olivia said that is his new smile and I said it couldn't be his new smile.
It isn't a smile.
When Olivia commented that she had more ice in her glass than she wanted, Tabor reached his hand inside her glass and pulled out several ice cubes and plunked them into his own glass, getting water everywhere.
And making me laugh way louder than I should have. (See? Ten years old.)
When Olivia went to the bathroom, Marianne surreptitiously slid Olivia's wallet onto her lap. When Olivia came back, she immediately blamed Tabor. Tabor, who hadn't seen Marianne, became immediately worried about the lost wallet. Olivia wasn't worried because she was sure Tabor had taken it. Marianne and I weren't worried because we knew it was on Marianne's lap. And Tabor was worried enough for us all. He kept trying to convince Olivia that he hadn't taken it and she needed to be more concerned and finally enlisted my mom to aid him in making Olivia do the responsible thing and get alarmed that her wallet was missing.
My mom was halfway down the table. She looked down at us and wearily said, "I'll buy you dinner, Olivia."
It's not her first rodeo and she's not about to be upset by mundane things like a lost wallet or her children's shenanigans.
Finally the wallet slid off Marianne's lap onto the floor and when it was retrieved, Tabor was blamed all over again.
You've got to admit, he sort of deserves it though. He's always been the pesky brother (and since he doesn't read my blog, I can confidently malign him here).
When the waitress brought the checks and our credit cards, she called out names. Marianne, Olivia, no problem. I wondered if she could pronounce Thelma.
She said, "Thela?"
I raised my hand. Because the m is silent. Yes, that's a thing.
We all reconvened at our house and it was a lovely time catching up. We took a three generation Olivia picture:
|Before the picture Tabor asked me where our picture taking wall was. I said we don't have one and he designated this one. I think we need to keep looking though. Lots of weird shadows.|
Everyone needs three Olivias in their life. They class the place up.
Tabor and girls stayed with us and after everyone else left, Tabor remarked how much he'd enjoyed visiting with our aunt Olivia. He said, "Talking to her makes me want to be a better person."
I can't think of a better description for our aunt Olivia. It's possibly why we keep reusing the name.