My next few entries will be a bit retroactive as I am trying to catch up on some recent happenings which I just have not found time yet to blog about. After a year and a half of staying pretty close to home, save for a couple of brief trips to Minco, OK, and San Marcos, TX, I managed to take two week-long trips away from home in three and a half weeks time.
The first was a 3600 mile round trip in late July in our minivan to Massachusetts. This drive takes about 35 hours one way. Abigail and I, along with my sibs Sandy and Andrew, chose to drive straight through so as to maximize our time for visiting with family. (Our other brother Pete flew up separately.) Jay graciously stayed home with our two youngest and my saint of a mother-in-law cared for the boys during the days while Daddy was at work. I can never thank them enough for their loving support and immense help, without which I never could’ve made the trip! Thanks also to my two fearless codrivers, also without whom I couldn’t have driven such a long distance! There were a few bumps along the way, like Abigail’s stomach upset and several unplanned detours but we saw much beautiful country (love those Tennessee mountains!) and saved a TON of money by going this route instead of the more sane and much shorter plane ride/rental car option!
While in Mass our main focuses were visiting Pa who had taken a bad turn in his health, and giving encouragement to Lolly. We spent a good part of each day up at the nursing home, attempting to cheer Pa. Though for the time we were there, his mental faculties were not what they once were, his immense joy at seeing all of us is something I will always remember. Lolly housed us at her apartment and we girls spent most of our nights there while my two brothers bunked at our uncle’s rental home a few towns away.
One of the neatest outworkings of the trip in my mind was that for the first time, all seven of Lolly and Pa’s grandkids were all together in one place. And Pa got to see that and enjoy it. I also had the opportunity to meet my littlest cousin, young Zach, who at eight years old seems more like Abigail’s cousin than mine! Abigail had a grand time playing with the three “big boy cousins” as she refers to them and even learned to pillow fight, a skill which she quickly taught Jonathan upon our return home. I also want to note that for a 4 year old who naps every day I kept her on a ridiculous schedule and yet she still managed to be wonderful company to everyone. She had but one actual nap during the week away and most nights she was up till 11pm. Click here to see more pictures of our trip.
When we originally planned our week to Massachusetts, we knew Pa was sick, but we did not know it would be the last time we’d visit him in this life. How thankful I am that we had the opportunity to travel north, to spend precious time with our dear Pa and to enjoy the company of so much additional family. I feel tremendously blessed to have made this trip. God has been good to us.