I realize my last post was over 2 weeks ago. I think that is by far the longest I've gone without writing, and I always regret not writing. There were so many times during my trek down south that I wanted to write, but the circumstances just weren't conducive. So I thought I'd just write when I got back. It was almost as if the moment I hit my driveway at 3 am in the morning last Sunday that I was literally catapulted into real life and it hasn't slowed down since. Entering my third trimester of this pregnancy, I constantly find myself barely making it to 5 pm when my dear husband graces the front door of this home. And then it's time to make dinner, clean the kitchen, and get some laundry done. By 8 pm, my feet are swollen and weary, and all I want to do is plop down on my couch, prop up my feet, and veg a bit before I rest my body for the night.
That's great, Hills, but how was the trip? It was okay. The drive down was difficult, and not because of the demanding voices coming from the back seats. It was my dad's birthday, Sept 22. It's always those special occasions that get to you, right? Well, it got to me and of course it has to hit me as I'm driving down I-85 alone, pregnant with two toddlers. For a while I let myself dwell on Dad, still trying to get past those last few weeks, then I harnessed it all back in and focused on getting us safely to Augusta.
For the most part, the week seemed like a scheduled visit with family, almost like a typical holiday. I visited with Sherry, my step mom, my lil sister, and Neil's parents in Augusta before heading to Warner Robins to see my grandparents, my mom, my aunt, uncle, and cousin's wife and new daughter. It was good to see everyone. Heck, I even got to see my aunt's (who lives in VA) new husband as he was passing through town on his way back home. As I drove back to Augusta, I stopped briefly in Milledgeville when Neil and I went to college, met, and fell in love. I guess I was feeling nostalgic.
If you've ever traveled back roads in Georgia, you'll know that it's difficult to get cell service. I was in a dead zone for nearly an hour and a half. In that time period, I managed to rack up 6 voicemails and several missed calls, one of which was from my sister (who I was talking to when I lost coverage). When I called back, I found out that my dad's sisters and my own sister would not be able to make the internment due to the gas shortage. Now I have to be honest, with the exception of my sister, I have to say I wasn't all that sad. Actually I was relieved. Now I didn't have to deal with all the drama I wrote about in my last post. I was also relieved to hear that Sherry was still planning to move forward with the service, since I had traveled all this way and wouldn't really be able to come back. So Saturday came, and Sherry, Alex (my lil sis), and I made out way to Magnolia Cemetery, a place I'd been many times with my dad over the years. It's an ancient place, county owned, and completely sold out. But my dad spent so much time there, continuously exploring it's history, writing about it's people, and getting to know the caretaker. They made a place just for him underneath a young magnolia tree. Dad would have loved it. The service was short, simple, and sweet. Sherry's best friend's husband read from the Book of Prayer while Sherry placed the box in the ground. We said a prayer and that was it.
I think I needed the simplicity of it all. I miss my dad so much. Sherry and I both would talk about how much he would have loved the politics of today, and how pissed off he'd be at the stupidity of those dorks in Congress. And when I think about the drama in the family, I know he'd be pretty pissed about that as well. Of course, if he were still here, it wouldn't be happening now would it? I feel bad for Sherry and Alex because I know what it's like to be cast out, intentionally or not, from the same family. Now I find myself in a situation I am forced to deal with, to make a decision, to stay stagnant or move forward. Now that Dad is gone, I could walk away from his family, and I could almost guarantee they would most likely not even notice. Sure, from time to time, my name may arise in a conversation or two, wondering what became of me, but I seriously doubt anyone would actually pick up a phone to ask. Seriously, before those fateful few weeks I was in GA, I hasn't spoken to most of them in years, and if I did, it was because I went to visit or called. Granted I do get Christmas cards from two of my aunts each year, and on the rare occasion I make it down to Florida to see my mom, I make the effort to see my Aunt Cathy, the only aunt to attend my wedding 7 years ago. But other than that, I feel like a complete outsider to that family, so it would be easy to just walk away...but would it be best? When I was fifteen or so, I chose to spend Thanksgiving with my Dad's family which always happens at my Aunt Helen's house. I think at that time, they were still living in Macon. Soon after that, they moved to TN. Anyways, I went there every third week in November until Neil and I moved up here (and then it just didn't make sense). If I didn't go, I would never have seen any of them. It's still not feasible for us to travel to TN for Thanksgiving, with all the other families we have to visit, so I'm not sure exactly what the solution is. Do I make an effort to have a relationship with Dad's family? Of course I will, because that's what I do, that's who I am. It's who I've always been. The question is how, and that I don't have an answer to right now.
So it seems my trip was more about dealing with family then it was about Dad. And maybe that's the way it was supposed to be. I'm pretty sure it's about 21 years overdue, and I now realize I need to deal with this junk that has build up inside of me, for my own good, for my own peace.
It's time to get ready to go to the Y for Owen's swim lessons. The first two times we went, he literally sat on the edge of the pool and cried. He'd tell me each time how he didn't want to go swimming, then he switched gears, and now he loves it. Next week, I'll be signing him up for pre-school 2 days a week, and if budget allows, I'd like to keep him in swimming lessons for one more session. He's growing up so fast.
I'm Not A Stalker, Just A Fan
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