A Day in the Deep South

If you asked me to describe a kid’s ideal day in the south, it would look something like this:

A refreshing dip in the kiddie pool under the shady fig tree.

Followed by a turn around the backyard with the hose.

A watermelon snack.

No inhibitions.

Taking the riding lawnmower out for a spin with Dad.

Catching fireflies with Uncle Chris.

I’m so happy that our children got to experience a day of simple pleasures like this.  It reminds us that we don’t need to be plugged into television, video games or computers to have a good time.

We ended our family day in Alabama gathered around the glowing homemade lanterns we created.  I think they turned out beautifully.  The boys were so proud.  We left the tall one behind for Granny and Grandpa to enjoy.  The boys insisted on taking their smaller lanterns home.  I think they make a lovely addition to the back porch and a nice reminder of our fun in the deep south.


Sweet Home Alabama

To be perfectly honest with you, I was dreading this trip.  Not because of the unfamiliarity of J’s grandparents’ house in Opelika.  Not because of boredom that comes with sitting and visiting with random extended relatives.  Not because of the endless hours that I would have to spend entertaining our children.

It was because I was afraid.

I have a picture in my mind of J’s grandparents how they were 15 years ago when we visited them on a college break.  It’s a funny, loving, quirky picture.  A picture of a spry elderly couple quick to give you a hug, ask you how your momma is doing and serve you a huge piece of homemade chocolate cake.

But I knew that those were not the same people that we would be visiting when we made our trip north to Alabama last weekend.

Old age is a bitch.

It scares me.

It robs you of your memories, your mobility, your faculties.  It takes everything away.

I knew that we would see a shadows of the people we once knew.  A man who still patted his wife on the behind and told her that he loved her.  A wife who stilled squealed and swatted him away with a dishtowel and a hearty “Go away, Phil.”  I knew old age had robbed them of their playfulness and quick wit.  And, selfishly, I didn’t want to face it.

But I knew I had to go.  For J, I would go.  For my children, I would go.  And I’m glad I did.

While I was sad to see that Grandpa now sits expressionless, motionless for long periods of time.  There were moments, however brief, where I saw the light come back into his eyes.  He was still in there somewhere.  That warmhearted man I remembered.  I was so glad to see him.

Granny is still as charming as ever even though her mobility has deteriorated to almost nothing and her body has shrunken down to a paltry 96 pounds.  I could hold a conversation with her about my mom, the kids, etc.  It was so nice.

I know in my heart that this was the last time that I will see them.  That fact brings a tear to my eyes.  They are a wonderful couple who welcomed me into their family with open arms.  I have jokingly told J many times that I think his grandparents are way cooler and more fun than his parents.

Between you and me, it really was not a joke.   🙂