Wednesday, July 26, 2017
As a kid my maternal grandparents lived about an hour away. About every six weeks or so we would go and eat at their house after Sunday church. I can remember the hour long drive felt like eternity because we were hungry and also because we knew the amazing food that awaited us. My tastebuds would venture to say that NO one can fry okra, make homemade jam, or bake the perfect broccoli casserole quite like my Nana. So as we drove the hour drive we wanted my dad to hit the pedal a little harder and get us there a little sooner. There was nothing extraordinary about Sunday afternoons at my Nana & Papa's, except all the ordinary in it. It was just the fuel we needed to fill our hearts & tummies. We shared a big meal, laughed & talked, played a game or two of kickball or we'd sit at the table with dominoes. Some might nap while others watched Sunday NFL, there was no agenda, no requirements, just time spent conversing and loving on each other as families do.
When I was 9 or 10 years old I remember it was a Sunday night and we had just said our goodbyes to my grandparents. They stood on their carport, as grandparents do, and waved goodbye as we reversed out of their driveway. It was very normal, it had been a very normal, fun Sunday so as we reversed I couldn't understand why my mom was crying? I asked her...I remember as she wiped tears she said "because everytime we leave they get a little older and so do you." Being a child I really hadn't noticed that my grandparents had aged. I thought they dressed like old people, and had grey hair like old people but as an innocent child I assumed that is how they would look forever.
Fast forward to 24 years later...my Nana has been gone for 5 years, my parents nest is empty. There four little birdies are all adults now; my oldest brother and I both live in the same town as my parents along with our spouses and children. My two younger brothers have taken career paths that have lead them to living further away. One brother lives about 90 minutes away and the other, the baby brother, lives about 9 hours away. Yes, 9 hours away. I know that is normal and it happens to families everywhere but in my childhood head I just knew we would all live super close and see each other daily.
A couple of weeks ago we were blessed to all get to be together for the first time in 7 LONG months. The visit went way too fast, it was filled with eating, swimming, and laughing. It filled our tanks with the fuel we needed to make it until our next visit all together. As we drove off I felt the tears as they streamed warmly down my face. I was taken back to a time when I saw my mom crying those same tears. I think the tears come from growing pains. The aching in our hearts that know what is coming...parents getting older, children spreading their wings and weeks (sometimes months) that stand between us all being together again. No visit is taken for granted and it is truly a celebration to all be together doing nothing extraordinary at all.