Sandy Turner is the specialty publications editor for The Examiner. Reach her at sandy.turner@examiner.net or call 816-350-6314.

The setting is different, yet the people are the same, except for three. We’re not at the dining room table in my grandma’s house, but at a restaurant. Occasionally the circle of life is so overwhelming, that it makes me happy and sad all at the same time.

My sister and I, along with our daughters, were celebrating my niece’s birthday. Not that we need a reason to get together, because we’re family.

When we were young mothers, my sister and I met our mom and her sister at grandma’s house every Saturday morning, promptly at 9 a.m. Our kids were little and they spent quality time getting into grandma’s things while my sister and I sat at the table with our three favorite women as we discussed, debated, laughed and sometimes cried about all the ups and downs that life had brought to us.

I cherished those Saturday mornings and still do. I miss my grandma, mom and aunt who made such an impact on my life, on all of our lives, as a family.

As I was surrounded by the most important women in my life and listened to their constant chattering, I realized that what mom and grandma had instilled into our family would never be broken. It’s family and it’s forever.

We’re all very different, yet we’re all the same. We laugh at the inside jokes because we know what’s inside. We know each other’s secrets, phobias, successes and failures.

We know about the individual goals that we set – some that will be met and many others that never will. Just the same, we encourage and support each other as if anything is possible, when you have people in your life who believe in you.

My sister and I have taken over the roles of my mom and aunt, as our daughters are the new generation and someday when they have children, this next generation will spend Saturday mornings at our homes getting into our things.

This is the first time, in a long time, in which all five of us live close to each other. My oldest daughter had been away at college for eight years and my niece had moved to Iowa with her husband. Everyone has finally settled down in the town that we have all said, at one time or another in our lives, we wanted to get away from. We come back because, we are family.

Lined up in fancy toenail chairs for pedicures, we continued talking, even louder than before, as we were competing over bubbling spas and nail techs. Afterwards we walked in the rain to our cars, with flip flop shoes and frozen toes, we said our goodbyes, even though we know we’ll be talking to each other as soon as the next day.

My sister and I watched our mom take care of grandma during those last years of life and then we took care of her during her last days. It’s an unspoken truth. My sister and I know that our children will take care of us during those times that we can’t take care of ourselves.

Because we are family.