It doesn't happen often anymore, but this week we had quite a nice surprise. My husband is Lebanese and most of his family lives in many other parts of the world. Just in case you aren't familiar with families from this part of the globe, the families can be large. Not because there are so many siblings but because extended family is just as important as your immediate family. In fact it can sometimes be a little overwhelming when marrying into the family but you eventually get used to it and for me and my kids it has been exciting to be a part of such an extended clan. Back in the '80s and '90s, because of the civil war, many of the younger cousins came to the states to go to boarding schools so our kids had the opportunity to "grow up" with their overseas family over school holidays and breaks. During that time aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws would come to visit regularly and would stay with us for weeks and sometimes months at at time. It was wonderful - most of the time. But in recent years as family has gotten older and young cousins have started families of their own, the visits have been less frequent. We have taken advantage of Skype and Facebook and Google Talk but it just isn't the same.
Now back to the surprise. On Tuesday when I got home from work my husband said he had just gotten an email from a cousin and that he would be arriving at the airport at 8:45. This family member now lives with his wife and family in Geneva but he had an unexpected work assignment in Atlanta. It was so exciting to have him here even if only for two days. We took advantage of the evening hours so I have to admit we stayed up much later than we normally do while he was here but it was worth every minute. As we said our goodbyes it made me realize just how much we miss our family.