Rob's parents left yesterday to head back to California after their December visit to see us. We had such a nice quiet time with them, cooking at home and going to the playground and reading books and going out to eat. And raking the leaves! Somehow we are never inspired to rake our leaves unless family is involved; last autumn's pile did not get raked until January when my parents came over in Violet's early days to clean the house and take care of us and my dad and Rob did it. This year, the leaves sat on the ground until Rob's dad arrived and the two of them spent a good chunk of Saturday working in the yard. I had grown so accustomed to our messy front yard that it is still a pleasant little shock every time I walk up to our door. We played games every evening after the girls went to bed and showed Rob's parents around Grace's little preschool and jaunted down to the med school for lunch a few days when Rob had to work. For our last lunch, we went to a little pharmacy/soda shop that was utterly charming. So fun!
Rob's parents had gotten some bad news right before they departed their home to come visit us. Rob's dad had cancer a few years ago and although they thought they had gotten all of it at the time, they have just learned that it spread to a lymph node. They think it is just a single lymph node and that they can do surgery to remove it (both goods things to hear) but it is still a scary and difficult time. Boy, Rob's parents sure have had a rough year health-wise-- his mom had cancer this past summer, then faux-cancer in the fall, and now this recurrence of his dad's cancer. Enough with the cancer already! It makes me want to feed Rob a super-healthy, all-antioxidant diet or something. Anyway, serious health issues have made us realize what a gift it is to have time with family and to get to enjoy the presence of these people we love so much. We are so glad they came.