We’re kayaking, and water falls from our paddles forming circles in the water, hundreds of concentric circles expanding, like the lake is one large tree, and we are counting its ages.

“See how they pass seamlessly through the waves and ripples?” Trent says. He’s holding Kasher in the kayak, our son’s cheeks squished inside his life jacket.

Aiden sits with me, drags his hands in the water.

“Nothing can stop them,” says Trent. “They just keep growing bigger and bigger, these circles, and all from these droplets of water.”

We’re on vacation in Ontario, and we kayak this part of the lake every day, past the rock with the seagull, past the loon with its warbling songs, past the wild island which Trent keeps begging to explore.

And we pull up to the beach where we play with the cousins until lunchtime.

And even as we gather for the day, the clouds pulling away to reveal blue, I think about those circles. How seamlessly they grew. How they let nothing stop them, how they never broke or wavered, just kept expanding, and the beauty it all created. Like some kind of intrinsic lace pattern.

We gather by the trellis on the beach, in our swimsuits and our towels, the kids eating oranges and tea biscuits and Dad (a minister) dedicating Kasher to God right there on the sand, the water behind us, with its unending circles.

And we pray together and my brother and sisters promise to do all they can to help Kasher grow in God’s grace and I think, this must be what heaven is like. This having each other’s backs, like this. This beautiful one-ness.

And even as we have misunderstandings, gathered from all sides of the country: my sister and her pilot-fiance, my other sister and her pastor-husband and their six-month baby, my brother and his homeschooling, wool-spinning wife with their three kids and my dad and my mum, even as we have just seven days in which to squeeze hugs and thoughts and cares and concerns and there are a lot of ripples: a lot of things said or done that could potentially break us, we keep expanding. We keep growing.

We keep holding on even as the circle gets wider and more children are added and we’re spreading further around the world, we’ll never break.

Because this is family.

This making beauty upon the water.

(sharing with Jen and Jennifer)