They came here in early April last year, young and not even married yet. Levi had recently lost his job, Dani was flunking her last year of high school, and they decided a change would do them good. We invited them to stay here a few months until they saved up enough to find their own place, but somehow, the months flew by and got away from us. Dani and I were reminiscing as we packed up boxes and it came as a bit of a shock to realize that Ely was only about eight months old, Aidyn a little over two. In the past year there were more fights over dishes than I can count, endless pots of coffee to support Dani's habit, a garage built under Levi's supervision and knowledge, a wedding celebration, Levi's 21st birthday, and Dani's 19th. There were fights (if only Levi knew how to walk through a house without leaving a trail of debris behind) and there were family nights (come one Tawny, watch this, it's not scary). The best part was watching two young kids, in love but without a clue, grow into adult versions of themselves, still naive about many things, but somehow, a little more wise and even more in love.
It was a pain and a privilege to have them here, to get to know my brother again, to learn about Dani, to watch them marry, to see Dani pick up little tips on cooking and cleaning that she'll use in her own home, and watch Levi go from a gruff and stern uncle to a puddle at Ely's feet. While I appreciate having the full use of my basement again, I will miss them here. Dani having coffee with me in the morning and joining us on visits to the mall, Levi always fiddling with something or bringing home some new toy.
And so, a look back at the past year and several months: