Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sweet Home Alabama

When I first started this blog, we were days away from driving down to Alabama. I knew that it was going to be a special trip and wanted to document it. However, after locking my husband out of his work computer one morning in the hotel room and having to face his extreme irritation about that (he had to call in to work and have his password reset, or something like that), I didn't end up documenting it like I wanted to. Once we returned home, life got in the way, and I just wasn't able to put the whole experience into words at that point.

My mother is originally from Alabama and her mother, her siblings, their children and grandchildren, among other extended family, still live there. Our trip down was very last minute. My niece was graduating from high school in Mississippi, just four hours away from my family in Alabama, so my parents and my brother (my niece's dad) were going down for the graduation and then onto Alabama where they would be able to spend time with our family there.

Originally, we weren't going to go. I would have loved to have gone to my niece's graduation and then onto Alabama, but I didn't want to go by myself and my husband couldn't take that much time off from work. Plus, we already had two other vacations planned for the year, one of them just a month after the graduation. Then there was the financial part of it and my daughter's 6th birthday was coming up (and we were out of town for her 5th birthday. She wanted to be home this year). There were so many reasons to not go.

On the other hand, the last time I was down there was over 11 years ago and it was for my grandfather's funeral. Most of my girls had never met most of my relatives and I really wanted them too. I knew that my girls would just love them!! I knew that the chances of my brother and my parents and us all being down there at the same time again were very slim. Who knew when we would get a chance to go down?? After much discussion and planning (in a short period of time) we decided that if we didn't go to the graduation (Sorry Jess!! We love you and are very proud!!) we could go for a few days. I was beyond thrilled!!

When I was growing up, we made regular trips down to see my mom's family (yearly for awhile and then maybe every other year). I have wonderful memories of those trips. My grandmother's house was the focal point where everyone would meet. My mother has three siblings and I have seven cousins, all fairly close in age. We (usually) got along great and had so much fun playing together. I could go on and on about my memories...I think that cousins are the greatest relationship. Better than friends because of the family connection and better than sibling because there usually isn't the bickering :) I hope that my girls have at least a fraction of the relationship that I had (have) with my cousins. It is very special.

So I got to see my aunts and uncles and cousins and their children. What a beautiful group of people. Between my brother, myself and my cousins, we have 15 children. Fourteen of them are in this picture.

Most of us went to a get-together at my cousin's house and I can't really put into words the feelings that I had there. It was amazing being a room being related to that many people. It was also amazing that although I haven't seen them in so long, we were able to pick up like it was last month. I know that it sounds corny, but there was so much love in that room. Actually, I don't think that I have said I love you as much as I did in those few days in Alabama.

I also got to see my sweet grandmother. She was exactly as I remembered her. She is a children-type person (some people are and some people aren't!) and she always made our visits very special. She knew what we liked to eat and always had it. She had child-friendly cups and plates, she had a bedroom devoted to toys and she didn't have any areas of the house that were off-limits. As far as I was concerned, she was the next best thing to my mom. Although I didn't get to spend as much time with her (or anyone) as I would have liked to on this trip, I was so happy that I got to see her and that my girls got to meet my grandmother, especially since they are so close to their grandmother.

My dear grandmother had a stroke last week. She is still in the hospital and at this point, we're not sure what the outcome will be. I am just so glad that we made the decision to go on that trip and that I was able to see her.

1 comment:

Momma Bear said...

I'm so sorry.I hope she is doing better.