April 16, 2013

And life would be all spring...not!

The sun just touched the morning;
The morning, happy thing,
Supposed that he had come to dwell,
And life would be all spring.
---Emily Dickinson

I'm back home safe and sound, but driving to my aunt's funeral was a little more dramatic than I would have liked!  Usually I love traveling across southern Minnesota and into the Dakota prairie with its wide open sky and the horizon that stretches on forever.  It was wonderful spending time with my family, although in the last year I've attended funerals on three sides of the family and at this point I'd love to reconnect with cousins and aunts and uncles through a happy reunion instead!  When I got up early to head home on Sunday morning, considering it was mid-April, here is what I had hoped I would be driving through:
South Dakota sunrise
But here is what greeted me instead:
SD Interstate 29
I have to admit, there was some white knuckle driving for awhile, and I was very relieved when I finally arrived home.  I was so grateful I had chosen Anne Perry to accompany me on the trip...her book on cd, Buckingham Palace Gardens, was just the thing to keep me awake and alert during what turned into a much longer day of driving than anticipated.  And may I add that I arrived home to find my husband putting the finishing touches on my favorite meal?  Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, coleslaw and sweet tea...what a sweet and loving gesture, and much appreciated!! 

And here, in no particular order, are some of the things I thought about during my long car trip:

I am so very grateful for my wonderful family.  I love my siblings and nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles and cousins so much.  I love all our crazy 'remember when' stories.  Family Easter egg hunts, Christmas Eve dinners at the KC Hall, family reunions, vacation Bible school with my cousins...all special bonds that we share.
Christmas Eve family dinner at KC Hall...my brother is on Santa's lap, surrounded by cousins....

A house full of cousins!  I'm in the back with my hair pulled straight back off my forehead...I TOLD you it wasn't a good hairstyle, Mom!!
A special thank you to my sister for her warm fire, muffin and a great cup of hot tea while I took a break from the blizzard driving.
My sister and I at the State Capitol, Thanksgiving 2012
I am so blessed to be the mother of such amazing children, who may be all grown up (well, mostly grown up!) and have their own busy lives, but who still took the time to text and call me while I was in South Dakota to see how I was holding up and how my solo driving was going.  I love you!
My kids and puppy (and yes, one of them is photo-shopped in thanks to my daughter's computer skills! Can you figure out who was added later?!)
I am so lucky to be the wife of a husband who loves me and treats me with respect, tolerates my (many) foibles and failings and uninspired weekday dinners, and knows how to pick me up when I am down and make me laugh when I'm having trouble seeing the bright side of life.  You are my rock, my fortress and my strength.

I miss my dad. Time may help heal the grief, but the missing doesn't go away, does it?

And I spent a lot of time in the car thinking how much I love and admire my mother.  Life hasn't always been easy for her, but her strength and determination to make life good for her family has gotten her through things a lesser woman could not have handled.  And she has done it all with grace, dignity and most days with a twinkle of fun in her lovely blue eyes.  Pulling out of the driveway, waving goodbye, is always hard on both of us.  I love you, Mom.

You can see it in their eyes,
in tender hugs and long good-byes,
a love that only moms and daughters know.

You can see it in their smiles,
through passing years and changing styles,
a friendship that continually seems to grow.

You can see it in their lives,
the joy each one of them derives,
in just knowing that the other one is there...

To care and to understand,
lend an ear or hold a hand,
and to celebrate the memories they share.

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