over Memorial Day weekend our family, grown now by two, met in Front Royal, Virginia to celebrate birthdays.

Specifically, Bayley’s.Because it was the big one. From left to right, starting in the back, Tom, me, Bayley, then Greg, Meghan and Dan. Nice, yes? It was a great time. We visited the Skyline Caverns. Tom, Greg and Dan had never been. Meghan, Bayley and I had been there in 1992. When we had the Passport Motorhome and traveled in the summer.

Twenty years ago. My. How time¬†flies. The place is a marvel of eerie and almost unnatural views. To the left is the formation called The Eagle. See the wings spread out across the top? This took hundreds, thousands of years to form. Makes you feel a bit small, short lived, like the way we look at flies. We were treated to marvels. The ‘snowballs’ which are fragile formations that can deteriorate quickly when in contact with humans. Meghan and I both gasped when a man, also on the tour, reached around the netting protecting the

formation from touch and did just that. Touched! If I had been closer I would have slapped his hand. What responsibility to we have, my family and I to protect what is not ours, but is? Whether we were in the state in which we live, the United States or anywhere else, something as precious as what has developed over thousands of years should have the opportunity to be protected by all.

Ah, but I digress. The best part of the weekend was The Book. Tom did this for Meghan, and now it was Bayley’s turn. What a gift! When each of the girls were born I started a journal. LOL, I tried to write it as if I was them. Telling what was going on, putting in cards, bills, pictures, whatever was there to show their lives before they remembered. Before they knew to remember. But, alas and alack, it’s tougher than I could have predicted to keep the writing going. And, after a few years, the notes, pictures and other memorabilia ceased to be tucked into the books. For Meghan’s thirtieth birthday, Tom pulled out the book and all our pictures and updated hers with school photos, birthday pictures, ballet pictures, camp badges and the stuff that made up her years. And then it was Bayley’s turn and he did it again. I may have started it, but it was Tom who was able to give the girls a gift they could cherish, with their husbands, children’s, nieces and nephews.

A lifetime gift. Now, that is family!