My aunt Lori is in town for her birthday this weekend, and in my family that means that there are lots of festivities on the horizon. Late nights spent in Muh's (the matriarch and grandmother of the family) living room, drinking wine and listening to anyone who is musically inclined in our group of family and friends play the guitar and sing and lots of good, good food. Breakfast gathered 'round the table with anyone who wants to wander in and sit down with the family. And more wine than the local liquor store can keep in stock, I'm sure. Last night was the first gathering of the weekend, and while I can't remember every one's name that was present, I do know that everyone was welcome and everyone had a good time. One of my cousin Amy's friends was there, and something she said stuck with me: "Abby, you come from a long line of strong, exceptional women, and hope you know how lucky you are to have this family that you have." Amen, Maggie. Because for all of our faults, fights, and bullshit, we are FAMILY. And an amazing one at that. I glanced around the room last night and was reminded of our family history, sitting right there in the living room of my Muh's house. Divorce, unplanned babies, fights, mistakes, hard hard times that each of us has gone through at one point or another, laughing, crying, and more mistakes. And we all come back. Through all of the hardships and arguments that have come our way, we always find our way back to Muh's living room on Friday nights, talking and eating and singing. We are free to let our warts hang out there for all to see, because we know that no matter how badly we mess up, or how much we piss each other off, or how screwed up we may be at times, we are always welcomed with open arms and a big (BIG) glass of wine. We may not be the most "normal" group of people, and good Lord we all have our faults, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I would rather have this group surrounding me than other families who sweep issues under the rug all in the name of being polite. Through good times and bad, joy and pain, babies and death and divorce and everything else you can imagine, we are all still family. So, thank you to the exceptional women in my family for giving me an example to follow and all the wine I can drink.