Dad and I shuffle along the sidewalk with Mollie, for her last outing of the day.  We are both tired, after a long but wonderful day with our family.  Dad is 95 and I am 70.  Arm and arm we shuffle together, because he is very old and I am very sick.

Shaun, Nancy and the three boys arrived in Denver with my dad for a visit.  The first time we have all been together in one place in too many long years.  Five cousins getting to know each other better than Facebook allows.  They are in bliss, and so am I.

We meet at daughter Kim’s house.  I cannot express my gratitude adequately.  The house is bursting with more love than usual.  Shaun and beautiful wife, Nancy, J.C., Conner and Brennan, Kim, Mike, Katie and Christopher, Dad and me.  Only J.C. has been in Colorado before and we have a great western welcome for our loved ones.

The wii offers an effective way to break the ice.  The laughter of my grandchildren touches my soul.  I enjoy watching them as I look for familial similarities.  There are many; some have the same lips, nose and eyes, all have qualities from the spouses of my children as well.  They are beautiful and handsome.  All good kids; polite and kind, thoughtful and cheerful.  Happy families are these and I am filled with gratitude.

As usual, Kim is the gracious hostess and Mike the gracious host.  They create a warm and welcoming atmosphere which we all appreciate.

On Friday, everyone comes to our house to meet Mollie, Yogi and Boo Boo.  Mollie is out of her mind with joy!  She has begged for a boy of her own to play with since we brought her into our home as a pup.  Now there are four!  They throw the ball and she gleefully returns, hoping for another throw.

A trip to Rocky Mountain National Park amazes everyone, even those of us who have lived here for over 16 years.   While our family runs to  check out Bear Lake, Kim stays with me so that I can administer my feeding, a first for me while on the road.  It works perfectly.  When all return we head up the road a few miles to catch a gorgeous vista and photograph the whole family.  My heart is so full, I wonder if I can handle all the love… is a feeling like no other.

A quick stop in Estes Park for candy apples, Shaun stays in the car with me.  We share tears of joy, and then laughter as I write words on my iPad,  change accents and the speed.  The result is hysterically funny and we laugh like there is no tomorrow.  I believe that families share a sense of humor and I can laugh with my dad and my children over situations that may elude others.  In this moment, Shaun and I are one in our shared sadness, and in the catharsis of our laughter.

He is a sensitive one, my boy.  He was such a caring little boy, who took the best from his dad and me.  His dad taught him how to be a man, a father, a leader and so much more.  I taught him about loving the less fortunate, being kind and cherishing beloved animals.  He has grown into a man his dad would be very proud of, as I am.  He has a very responsible position and he shares my belief in honoring people who work for you, giving them a fair shake and being sensitive to their needs.  He has a staff that appreciates his caring and responds with loyalty.  When I was working in organization development, I tried to train leaders to be like my son.

On Sunday evening, Kim planned a night at the Grizzly Rose, a country western dance house, with mechanical bulls.  It was wild!  Some of the kids learned to dance, and all the kids rode the bull, including Kim and Shaun.  We laughed until we were dizzy.

A tearful goodbye in the parking lot, because all were leaving very early in the morning.  As I held my son, I wondered if it would be the last time.  I knew, I know, that the memories we made last weekend will warm my heart for the rest of my days.  I can only pray that we have at least one more visit from my beautiful New Hampshire family. 

In the meantime, I have conjured up the countless memories we made.  I look at the photos of each face remembering their smiles, their laughter and I am grateful.  I am able to re-experience the love, the fun, the silliness with almost no effort at all.

I am left with these comforting thoughts.  In our lives, so many things happen that we are proud of, things we regret, and we have many choices.  To forgive or hold onto anger, disappointment and pain.  Living life in the way that God intended requires us to emulate the teachings of Jesus.  While this may not always be easy, I believe it is the right way, and when we make choices that we know He would not make, we lose. Everyone loses.  And so, on this Easter morning dear readers, I ask you to open your hearts and take in all the love and joy that is there for you.  It is a simple choice, and I believe the only right one.  God bless you.