I am just coming to the end of a 10-day-east-coast trip, which, I spent with the BIL (Boy I Like) and his entire family. It would be kind of fun to write about all the mishaps or dysfunction I experienced, but there was none. His family is so normal and nice, I feel like I have been a cast member of the “Leave it to Beaver” show for the last two weeks. When the plane lands at LAX, I’m thinking my dad, who is picking us up, is going to take me back to the set of Modern Family and BIL is going to make his way over to the Huxtable house for dinner.

The trip started the day after Christmas in the Adirondacks. We pull up to a lakefront home surrounded by just enough snow to make it look like a winter wonderland. The house was filled with children in footy pajamas, the smell of homemade food and hand knit stockings hanging from the staircase.

The family photos on the wall dated back to a time when I didn’t even know that photography existed and instead of having one half-eaten game of Monopoly, they had a designated game closet that was organized by age and theme. “Wow this place is like out of a storybook,” I actually said out-loud sounding a bit like Little Orphan Annie.

Upstairs in the guestroom the beds were decorated with comforters sewn by BIL’s mom. It was explained to me that she made the comforters for BIL during his first year of college. If that wasn’t enough to make me feel insufficient for never learning how to sew a button, I was told that the family had built the newer part of the house.  ‘Is your family handy?” one of the cousins asked during family game night. “No, but I do know how to check my own oil in my car,” I replied.  I’m not sure why I thought that building a home and checking one’s own car oil are even in the same category but it was all I could think of at the time.

We spent the week ice skating on the lake, taking walks, playing lots of board games, organizing a family talent show and drinking hot chocolate and homemade cookies.

However, despite the perfection, there was a moment in which I realized more clearly than I ever have before, that it is not about homemade cookies and hand-knit stockings. I saw the moment when I looked at BIL’s mom’s face one night when the nieces and nephews had just got done opening their presents. She was sitting on at the end of the couch and just kind of watching everything with this look of complete happiness. I recognized the look because I’ve seen the same look on my parents face.

It made me realize that we as human beings try so hard to do something with our lives so that we are not forgotten. Each of us in some way wants to leave our mark on the world before we die. And really the only thing we need to do so as not to be forgotten is love with our whole hearts.

I know that sounds corny or cliché and I bet if BIL’s mom is reading this she will say, “That’s kind of corny.”

But honestly, it’s the truest thing I know.

Sure maybe BIL and I were raised a bit different; he with his hand-sewn ski-jackets and me with my department store bargains. But the bottom line is our families know how to love. However, I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt me to learn how to sew to button or make a batch of homemade cookies.