We are in Texas doing our annual grandparent tour.  We are blessed to have my mom and step-dad and my in-laws near one another in the Fort Worth area.  We arrived on the 4th and have been with my in-laws so far.  My mother-in-law planned a full itinerary for us and we have been having a blast.  Right now, my girls and their cousins have a lemonade stand set up on the fringe of my in-law’s back yard.  Their back yard is on the 9th tee box of a golf course so there is a good deal of built-in business.  In case you are in the area, there are some fabulous peanut butter cookies available along with the lemonade.  The annual lemonade stand is just one of the many traditions that have developed over the years in our yearly sojourn to the home of our youth.

One of the usual drawbacks to our trip each year is that generally, Texas in July is almost unbearable…sweltering heat that makes us laugh when people in Virginia complain about the summer weather.  In Virginia, they start counting days when it gets over 90.  In Texas, a forecast of low 90s in July or August is a cold wave.  Yet, so far this visit, the weather has been beautiful.  We have toured Texas Motor Speedways and gone to a wildlife park called Fossil Rim.  In both places, the heat would have generally taken away from the fun.  However, this year it has been really nice.  We have gone over 100 miles per hour in a special van on the straight away at the speedway and we have had giraffes eat out of our hand at the wildlife park.  We have also been to a wonderful show called Granbury Live…a very entertaining musical variety show.  We have been to the pool and eaten Mexican food.  We have taken naps and read lots of books…I even had a margarita at 3:00 in the afternoon one day!  Altogether, it has been a relaxing time with family.  At first, I had access to my email, but that doesn’t seem to be working now…probably a gift to be a bit disconnected from all that keeps me busy at home!

The other highlight of our trip so far has been our celebration of my in-law’s 50th wedding anniversary.  To celebrate this incredible milestone, we hired a limo to take us, along with 3 couples whom they have been friends with for years, out for a nice dinner.  The limo was one that seated 16 and we had the limo driver give the kids a ride before we left for dinner.  We went into Fort Worth for dinner (about a 45 minute ride) and enjoyed an evening full of toasts, memories, laughter and tears.  Two of the couples with us have known my in-laws since the late 1950s!  The only drawback to the evening was that my sister-in-law was unable to be with us because of the death of her father last week.  There wasn’t a dry eye at the table when my brother-in-law read the letter that she had sent to share her thoughts in her absence.  In this time of throw away marriages, it was truly a blessing to celebrate a couple who had stuck with it for 50 years and still seem to be truly in love with one another.  I am one of those lucky individuals who truly adore and enjoy my in-laws…I have known them since I was 16 years old and consider them to be my second parents.  Because I met them when I was so young, I firmly believe that their influence has shaped who I am in many ways.  I will treasure the memories that we made the night of our celebration and throughout the rest of this week.  After a few more days here, we will move over to my parent’s home where we have a whole new set of traditions to keep and memories to make.  I’ll write more then…now, it’s probably time for a nap!