I was sitting here somnolent, waiting for my coffee to kick in, Olivia urging me to go back to bed, 🙂 when I decided I might as well catch you up on a few events. You may have noticed a few days of consecutive posts, which then abruptly ended.
Last week I got the best surprise of the year to date when the South Dakotan brother-in-law and wife showed up on our doorstep. They used to live a half mile from here, but it has been five years since they just casually dropped in and helped us eat our supper! It is so much better to look at each other while we talk, to admire in person the newest little baby who traveled along on their flying trip. Gabe confessed that he knew they were coming for a cousin’s wedding the next day, and that he had also arranged for us to go up to his parents’ place after the wedding.
Wow, I had some scurrying to do that night. Laundry came first, so we had clean clothes to pack, then a lick and a promise clean-up, as my mom used to say. I wrapped the wedding gift last thing before collapsing into bed. When I got up the next morning to assemble the boys’ school books for the day, I found that the little stinkers had gotten up early and done their school already! My blessed mother came to our house to take on the childcare.
We traveled to the wedding with Thad and Rhonda, 1 1/2 hours to catch up without interruption. Well, at least we made a dent in the catching up. It really is fun to be friends with your siblings!
Gabe and I headed back home before the wedding reception was quite done, leaving Thads to go on north with his folks. We had another four hours to drive after we picked up the suitcases and children. Once we were all loaded up, favorite people tucked into their favorite blankets, snacks and water bottle at my feet, I took a little time to breathe and be grateful.
In the last two years we have not traveled anywhere as a family except those four hours up to Grandpa’s house. This was the first time that I didn’t drive while Gabe studied. (In fact, many of the text books are sold, and I couldn’t be happier to see them sailing out the door while the paypal account fattens up!)
We had a delightful weekend, surrounded quite literally with family. Having taken along all manner of snow clothes, we got to ski and sled and skate. We strewed socks and hats and cameras and games all through Grandma’s space and she was just as sweet about it!
Oh, and we ate her food. Gabe’s mom is an artist in the kitchen. I have never seen anyone so effortlessly turn out a buffet of delectables like she does. I have a suspicion that she felt a little like a hoard of devouring locusts had descended upon her kitchen.
Gabe’s dad, the cabinet builder, has been working on a handsome, custom-built dresser for us. He built it out of walnut and sprayed the last coat of poly on it just an hour before we loaded up to come home. Always before we head out, he comes with bags of potatoes, onions, and carrots from his root cellar that we tuck in here and there with the luggage. Vegetables and fine furniture and love.
The ride home is usually very quiet, everyone having pretty much run their little legs off for the duration of the visit. Long on fun, short on sleep makes for interesting days post-visit. I didn’t want to skip a school day yesterday, so we got out the books and I ran laps doing laundry in the basement, switching things from the old dresser into the new one, arbitrating the differences that inevitably arise between tired children. Gabe had EMS con-ed and two interviews, so I was flying solo, attempting to bring the family craft back to earth without too much drama. 😉
To complicate things further, Olivia and Addy had a doctor’s visit scheduled in the afternoon. My cheerful young friend, Janelle, helped me out with the other children and the mountainous laundry while I was gone. I had promised Olivia, “No sticks or pricks. No labs. Just routine check-up.” Don’t you know, the doctor discovered a vaccination that needed boosting. If it would have been any of the other children, I would have refused it for the time being, but with Olivia’s compromised immune system and the swirling threat of whooping cough, I decided to go ahead with it.
Well. My sweet little girl pitched. a. fit. “You promised, Mama! No, no, no, no, NO, NOOOOO!” Addy joined the chorus of dismay with loud wails of her own. The nurse was briskly efficient and we scooted out of there as fast as we could. I really felt like a rather awful mother. I did not buy a milk shake for either of us, which is our customary treat for being good at doctor’s visits.
I took my helper home, picked up milk, fed my family supper, listened to my man, slept the sleep of the nearly dead, and now here we go again. Trotting on.