It had been their Summer Solstice event weekend there in the mountains at the Blue Ridge Mountain Club. I met some super interesting people, very much so, so out of my realm of trauma mamas and local friends here.
I didn't mention anything at all about my family until the night I sat with a blindingly handsome man who spoke of his special needs, grown daughter's health challenges from his first marriage, making an interesting statement, "It's been the worst thing and the best thing that's happened to me," he shared. Certainly I truly understand his thought process. My own family has taught me so very much about life in spite of the uber difficulties we've encountered.
Indeed I'd stepped into such a different world from my own subsistence living, as my favorite brother-in-law answered another man's questions about trade negotiations in the Commerce Department where Kevin works in DC, my own hillbilly life of weeding and tending to traumatized children 24-7 seemed bizarre in comparison. I just did a lot of smiling and nodding, while surreptitiously checking my phone for service, hoping for no texts regarding disasters back on the home front.
It took a four wheel drive vehicle to get us to one beautiful rock strewn creek, reminding Kevin and I both of a family reunion we'd attended about 20 years ago in the same mountain range with all my Bailey cousins and their families, when Kevin's wife, my sister Ellen was still living. Come to find out we were just a few miles away from that same community.
The next generation of my Bailey cousins are equally as amazing. Kevin's daughter, Lauren, is leading a youth group work mission team in New Orleans this weekend, Aven's daughter, Hannah, and her husband in China on missions, Gary's daughter, Katie Bay, now in Chile for her Spanish education for six months, no slugs amongst us, that's for certain, and this is only June's schedule.
My daughter, Sarah, like me, working a home mission where there's little admiration, no respect and certainly no accolades for choosing the unglamorous world of tending to 39. Oh well, it's a calling...Yolie's heard and heeded to it also. I'm grateful to them both for all their massive help over all these years.
She-of-one-outfit, Miss Fashion Challenged, well I so totally forget there's an entire world out there where moms don't have to stop explosive raging behaviors, nor deal with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. There are some very normal people walking this earth, matter of fact that's the majority rule. Go figure.
I find it shocking.
My own children behaved beautifully here at home for Sarah, JoJo'd been in very high gear, entertaining the snot out of her, no doubt describing snot rockets where you close off one nostril while expelling the contents of the other as far as possible. I apologize to you coffee drinkers out there right now for the visual, but adolescent boys have unique frames of reference.
I know that JoJo worked very hard all weekend to regale Sarah via hilarious behaviors, I know he made her laugh until her stomach ached. He's just built that way.
Nando had expressed his very nervous misgivings about me leaving, I ran around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off Friday afternoon, making sure I'd tended to everything, stocked the house with groceries and covered all my bases, initially fretting over my decision to go, but knowing I'd have a blast with Kevin. Even my dogs went hyper vigilant, their lovely sets of expressive brown eyes nervously watching my every move, especially Shatter and our Chihuahua cat-dog Riley.
As we headed back down south yesterday, I literally felt the strong, magnetic pull of my children and I was greatly looking forward to seeing them. I missed them. I really did.
Sarah'd made a monster sized pot of Black Bean Chili, so very delicious that nearly every kid verbally thanked her for it, her handsome husband, Preston, now 46, jumping on the trampoline with them all, playing guitar, dazzling Lily and CW with his skills. Lily, our resident produce manager, had gathered onions and peppers from my garden for the chili pot. "Mom," CW expressed last night to me, "You really need to learn how to cook this for us."
I've already taken Sabrina over to the high school before dawn this morning, tomorrow CW is headed to Augusta, Ga for two days, a mom and I have worked out those details, and this weekend is Forward, a church retreat involving ten of my kids in the youth group.
Tony'd walked down the dirt road last night, photographing yet another snake and now I need to google, or somehow plow through a pile of Denis Waitley books to find his model of decision making that I'd tried to explain to Kevin.
I'd written a post on food that I'd planned to publish while I was gone, but had no internet service, I'm so often asked what do I eat.
And Jimbo and Ms Carr...oh my goodness, your mongo acts of generosity moved me to tears last night.