The summer after the Union tornado, I lived with Jennie and Dusty Hughes. At the time, they just had one kid: baby Hannah. Now Hannah is speaking Latin and reading The Hobbit, and three more kids (Seth, Micah, and Jonah) have joined the family. They’re my Jackson family, and they always make me feel totally welcome, despite the family habit of peeking around corners to stare at me with owl eyes. This tradition is, I feel compelled to mention, always initiated by the parents.
I also got to spend time with Bill and Sally Smith, Jennie’s parents. They were dear friends and pseudo parent/grandparents at Woodland. Since they moved to Jackson, I’ve only seen them at Jackson parties. The last four days, however, I got to have lunch at their house in a nice one-on-two conversation, and they stopped by the Hughes house every so often. It was nice to feel like they were just….around, and not so distant as to need specific visits.
But back to the Hughes family. They’re so weird, and I love it. Jonah, the youngest, toddles around on his own, content to move chairs and eat grapes and drive toy trucks.
Micah, who is three, is new to me but SO FUN. He’s really stinking clever, and we developed a daily habit of laying on my bed to play “Candy Crushies!!!” while Hannah and Seth were doing school.
Seth, who is seven, is so sweet. He quietly moves to my side and says things like, “I wish you were coming outside with us.” He’s got the most sensitive little heart, and I just want to squinch him.
Hannah, the oldest, shares my passion for reading. Every night that I brought out my book, she would grab hers and cuddle with me, laying the couch back and relaxing into our fictional worlds. If I got distracted by another child, she would assure me, “He can play that on his own; keep reading.” I admire that single-minded devotion.
Jennie and Dusty are two people I feel the most comfortable around. This is probably because an enormous amount of our conversations revolve around farting. I love friends who will laugh with me about inappropriate Harry Potter jokes in between discussing faith, parenting, and boundaries. I always laugh SO MUCH with them, mostly because I am at my least witty and graceful with them, and Dusty never fails to call me out on it.
My favorite moment of this trip was late Thursday night after I’d struggled to drink coffee with a Tim Tam straw and we were all in the kitchen, getting water before heading to bed. I asked Jennie what her Myers-Briggs type was (ESFJ) then said that made sense, because people tend to be friends with people who are only one or two letters different from them. Dusty frowned, then said, “But I don’t share any letters with you…D-U-S-”
I was in the middle of drinking, and I snorted into my glass, shooting water all over my face and glasses. I ran to the sink to spit out my mouthful of water, wiping my glasses on my shirt and wheezing. “That wasn’t even that funny!” Dusty insisted as Jennie and I cried with laughter.
Some sort of water/face disaster always happens when I spend time with them, and I think this one might be my new favorite.
This family. I love them!