It had only been a week since Mark left for his new job but it felt like a month. It did not help that is had rained all week long. Sure we played in the rain when we could, but more often than not thunder and lightening accompanied the rain so we were stuck inside.
I love my children desperately but you have to be a saint to not get cabin fever after a week of cold rain. They were driving me batty. They were bored and no amount of ingenious creativity was going to change this. Pillow tents, picnics with stuffed animals, art projects (which was difficult since we have crayons, pencils, and one glue stick unpacked and nothing else), dance parties, plays, comedy shows, school work, chores, packing…..You name it and we probably did it. However each activity seemed to only take up 5 minutes and the minutes lasted for hours.
That is it! The kids were about done as I was. Early Friday morning I packed up the kids and the dog and we headed east to my Aunt D’s house. I planned to stay only one night, but it was worth it. We needed a change of scenery. The 3.5 hour drive took 4 hours because we did stop once. Not too bad! The kids and dog traveled well.
We pulled up to my aunt’s house and C-Dog bounded out of the car and cheerfully hugged everyone, despite not remembering most of the people. Princess had to warm up to everyone but quickly showed her charming smile. The kids chattered happily and quickly made themselves at home. They were delighted to discover my aunt, in all her brilliant glory, had kept a bike, scooter, play set, and some toys even though her youngest child is 15 years old.
Elf was thrilled with Uncle J. She has been missing her daddy something fierce so when Uncle J pushed her on the swing set she was practically glowing with joy.
The afternoon was a revolving door of people. Of course there was my aunt, Uncle J, and cousin J but there was more. See, my aunt and several of her siblings still live in the area where they grew up. My mom’s family had 8 children and I ended up with over 20 first cousins on her side alone. I love that many of them still live there. I used to spend summers there, visiting my grandparents, and so even though I have never lived there I consider that area one of my homes. I got to see Aunt L and her 3 children. I got to meet N and K; the daughters of 2 of my cousins. Such sweet little girls! One reminds me of Elf and the other reminds me of Princess.
I also got to meet Baby Z, the son of cousin G.
I love seeing my cousins. Being one of the older cousins I have plenty of memories of these guys as babies and little kids. Seeing them grown with families of their own is neat.
I think the highlight was meeting Baby Z though because he is Zen’s cousin-twin. They were born on the same day! Do not get me wrong, the girls delighted me and they are cuter than can be. I can see qualities of my cousins in them and it was fun to watch them interact with Princess since they are all close in age. It was just really fun to meet Baby Z since he and Zen were both huge surprises for our family and both happened to also be born on the same day.
The house was loud, lively, and full of love. Friday night came and Aunt D and I got to sip some wine and catch up. It was fun to hear stories. I learned things I never knew about her. The next morning I woke and learned that, despite chilly weather, Aunt D sits on her couch with the door open and listens to the birds, sips coffee, and savors the moment. Oh my gosh I love that about her!
That morning she went back into time to when she was in Germany. The cool smell of the morning reminded her of her time there. I have only ever heard snippets of her time over seas so I really appreciated this story. I felt like I was there. In my mind I could see that little German village nestled in the valley of the mountains. I could smell the German food. It was a rare treat to share this time with her.
The kids slept late. They needed it. C-Dog woke up over-stimulated and was on edge all day, but we managed to survive another round of people. I got to see Uncle B and meet the woman who has made his life so happy. He had been a widower too long. I am so glad he found someone and I look forward to a new aunt joining our family. I got to see cousin G and Baby Z came back to visit for the day.
Bug bonded with cousin J. Being 12, he was quite thrilled his slightly older cousin let him hang out with him. I also got to meet a family friend. Apparently this woman was friends with most of my aunts in high school so she knows my family quite well. It was neat to meet someone who is connected to my family; someone who knew my grandparents when they were living and my aunts when they were a bit crazier than they are now.
Zen and Baby Z were a hoot to watch. When one cried the other would sympathy cry. Baby Z was inspired as he watched his cousin twin walking around the house and took more steps than he had been taking. At one point I counted a total of 10 consecutive steps before he fell. Good job Baby Z!
It was a fast trip but it revived me. It gave me the much needed adult time and the kids a change in scenery. I got to see family I haven’t seen since my cousin L got married 5 years ago. I got to meet new people. Best of all I got to savor the moment.
Thank you Aunt D and Uncle J for hosting us. you were amazing and generous and patient beyond belief.