We are a family that relies heavily on tradition - so much so that my 49 year old father still receives a Mickey Mouse lunch box filled with his favorite snacks for his birthday, a tradition that dates back to his elementary school days. Christmas has an almost eerily redundant agenda - starting with "the Santa gifts" and ending with a complex and often absurd rendition of "The 12 Days of Christmas". If my grandparents ever came to visit without bringing scotcheroos (a completely delicious dessert of chocolate and peanut butter) we'd assume that they'd forgotten a bag in the car. Point being: it just doesn't happen.

To support these traditions, we're also a family that relies on order. I recall going to the dentist when I was about 12 years old, concluding an appointment and opening my planner on their receptionist's counter to schedule another. The receptionist laughed and said, "Oh my goodness, you're just like your mother!" This confused me. I may have gone to a small private school, but I was fairly certain that everyone carried a planner. Wrong. We're probably one of a few families that had a strict "chore chart" - decorated, functional, and hanging in the kitchen. We might be the only family who has their bacon standing in neat little rows at brunch. We're definitely the only family who considered first initials when choosing names only because overlapping initials would confuse the labeling of appointments and extra-curriculars in The Planner.

But I love these things. I love all the crazy, quirky qualities that are unique to my family. As I've gotten older, these qualities have become even more discernible and appreciated.

This weekend Blake and I made a trip back to our Connecticut hometown to celebrate another year for my father and brother and to remember a life well-lived in Blake's grandmother. With some sadness and a great deal of joy, we left remembering the people that make up our idea of "home" - whether in memory or in presence.
Blake, Grandpa and Dad out flying the "fleet".
Blake's true initiation as Dad's son-in-law.

In his element.

Blake has completed his initiation. He now receives his own plane.
I feel like he should be wearing a cap and gown in this picture. Nonetheless, you can see the pride in his eyes.

All four of my grandparents: Grandaddy, Grammy, Grandmum & Grandpa
Once again, you can see that we don't have name duplicates.

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