Thursday, June 25, 2009

Validating My "Long-Winded" Claim Once Again

... and the Flegal children all lived 'Happily Ever After' following their return to the land of their forefathers. Replacing the 1900 mile gap with an easy five minute walk, they blissfully dwelt in the midst of their Nana, Pop-pop, cousins, Aunts, Uncles & friends....

The End.

Alright, okay. We're not quite to that chapter of our story yet. But someday, we will be.

My parents returned home yesterday.

Let's just say that I wasn't the only one unhappy about it.

Thankfully, Eliza was asleep when we arrived at the airport. My parents cautiously slipped out of the vehicle, careful not to wake her. After hugging them tightly and whispering, "Only eight more weeks," I returned to my seat. From my rear view mirror, I saw that they waited on the curb to watch us drive away. With all the discipline I could muster, I was able to trap my emotion at the bottom of my throat (you know the place I'm talking about) for the majority of the drive back home. And then, my daughter woke up.

"Hey!" Noticing their absence for the first time she asked with her eyes full of crocodile sized tears, "Where are Nana and Pop Pop?" The barrier was broken. I couldn't help myself. I began to cry too. I tenderly gave her the answer she already suspected. My heart fell as I watched her face crumple.

"I need them now!" She said through her heaving sobs. And that my friends, is one of the most difficult parts of Motherhood. Not being able to explain what it means to live so far away. Or wishing you could explain why she can't go back with Nana to her house. It's a big piece of awful. All I could to was apologize for her sadness. As I drove, she asked if she could sit in my lap (her request was put on hold until we arrived home). In fact, she asked to be cuddled all afternoon.

Still, the price of enduring another ache-infused, "farewell" was completely worth it after reflecting on the special week we shared. The recap of that week begins now.

Hold on tight...
... because it's going to be a long one.

According to my Dad, Eliza's greeting was one of the highlights of the trip for my Mom. They arrived at a smaller airport that allows non-ticketed passengers to wander further than you'd generally expect. With that being said, I think it's fair to say that my parents were surprised to see an elated Eliza as soon as they did. She rushed into my Mom's arms. The moment was the exact opposite of the feelings I previously mentioned.

Assuming, falsely, that Andrew would have asked for a ride home after his mutual activity, we made our way home. I was looking forward to introducing my Dad to our home. The dark house indicated that Andrew wasn't there, so we reversed our way out of the drive way and headed down the road toward the Church. Lo and behold, there was my husband, walking in the dark, with a handful of wildflowers that he'd collected while on his solitary journey.

The following morning we loaded ourselves into the Flegal-mobile and geared up for a road trip to the LOVELY Charleston.
After checking into our hotel, we made our way into the heart of downtown. The ladies checked out the "open market" while the men folk found a parking spot. The sun was hot and an exhausted Eliza was threatening to fall apart. Playing the odds, we opted for an informative, yet entertaining, carriage ride through the city. It was splendid. Eliza and her incredibly sweaty head fell asleep on my lap.I don't know if I was more interested in seeing the home where George Washington once stayed or the mansion where they filmed scenes from my favorite movie, "The Notebook." The tour guide did a great job.

After a scenic dinner at California Dreaming, we returned to the hotel to call it a night.

Following breakfast the next morning, we boarded a boat for a tour of the harbor. Our destination was Fort Sumter... the starting point of the Civil War. The area in which Andrew and I live is filled with history from both the Revolutionary and Civil wars. You can't help but gain a deeper sense of patriotism after experiencing and enhancing your understanding of what occurred at these places.

After the tour, we returned to the boat.
Next, my Mom and I enjoyed 'Round 2' of the Open Market. We left the men in charge of finding lunch with the kids. They had more of an adventure then we'd all anticipated. Trying to locate a bathroom for Eliza in a city where it's impossible to find a parking place, a missing order of chicken nuggets, distraught children who were in need of a nap, etc made the simple request we'd originally made a little more complex.

It was clear that we ought to schedule in "nap-time" after they came and fetched us. Next up... the beach. Wow. The beach. The water was like bath water. It was the warmest ocean experience I've ever had. HEAVEN. It was slightly overcast which helped combat the heat. My greatest pleasure was watching my Mom and Henry play in the waves. My Mom let loose in a way I've never seen as she waded deeper and deeper into the water. Henry just laughed his head off as the waves broke around him and his Daddy. Eliza's favorite place to be was the sand, but she did make her way out farther than I'd expected with my help.

The next morning, we made our way to Angels Oak. It is the oldest tree on this side of the Mississippi. I'm telling you now, pictures can not do the majesty of this tree justice. It's unreal.Take note of the tiny people at the base of the tree.
That afternoon we made our way home. Sunday we celebrated our Daddy's with a special breakfast, gifts, cards, etc. My parents were able to attend our Ward too. That evening we went to a nearby park. The weather was favorable.

Monday morning Andrew returned to work. Without his company, we went into Greenville to visit Falls Park.
Our stroll was followed by lunch and then... yup. You guessed it. Home again for nap time. That evening, Eliza, my Mom and I drove an hour and a half to see "Thomas LIVE on Stage!" The boys hiked an area where the battle of Cowpens took place. This battle was a turning point for our struggling country during the revolutionary war. If you've seen the movie, "The Patriot" (I haven't)... the major battle depicted in that film, occurred here.
As predicated, the Thomas show was magic for Eliza. She was mesmerized. I'm happy that my Mom was able to see that type of wonder on Eliza's face. During our long drive home, my Mom and I received word from my sister that the Governor of my state was missing. I am embarrassed to admit that I had to ask my sister to tell me his name. He'd been missing for four days. He'd missed Father's day, his wife was unaware of his whereabouts, something about taking time off to hike the Appalachian trail... 'this behavior is somewhat typical' - they said.

Turns out, he was having an affair. That's why his wife didn't know where he was. That was an awkward press conference if I do say so myself. Tuesday, my Mom and I laid out at the pool as the children slept. That evening my Dad and Andrew went hiking. Their little excursion was the "icing on the cake" for my Dad. As for me, I had a good cry as I watched Marley & Me with my Mom that night.

I'm grateful for the time we had with my parents. My Dad gave me the pep-talk I needed as we made our way to the airport. Andrew and I are truly blessed. We have a great life here. The void for family is still there, but we're doing well and live in a great area with great people.

In fact, to distract Eliza and I from our tears, I phoned my friend Michelle on our way home.

"Hi..." I said. Trying to hold it together.

"Oh Hi." Seriously, it feels like it's been months since we've been able to hang out. Bad timing is the story of our life lately.

"Did you drop your parents off today?" She asked. I start crying.

"Yes. I'm like... sobbing in my car right now."

"Ya." She says simply. "I can tell." Michelle, who is incredibly put together emotionally, probably finds my hysterics amusing. Still, she obliged with my request and brought over her boys. It was good to have them over again. We're fast approaching our "year" anniversary since the move down South. I can hardly believe it.


*Jess* said...

Oh, Ali... (hug) I am so glad your parents got to come visit. I hope its not much longer until you see them again.

I had NO idea scenes from The Notebook were filmed in Charleston! I've been there numerous times, but have never been to the actual beach there!

Keersten said...

You are so cute! It looks like fun.

The Tate Family said...

Ali...I am so sorry that you have to experience that. I feel kind of bad that I don't have to experience that anymore...but, I do miss the adventures of being on your own! Live it up, it will be done before you know it! I still am sorry you have to go through that, though!

Audra said...

Your post about made me cry! Poor Eliza! Those places looked beautiful and I am happy you were able to spend time with your parents and your family!

Ang said...

I did invitro and so I need to be on bedrest for 5 days, always a little unsure how much of that to say on the blog :)

Melvin said...
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