Hey everybody: I know it's been a little while, but have no fear, I have not (as Crazed Mom has worried about) been a part of the blog-apocalypse or anything like that. Nope, it's just regular, end of summer, everybody has their vacation at one time, trying to cram experiences into the last few weeks before school starts mayhem.
I told y'all we'd be having some visitors, and boy howdy*, did we have visitors. My sister and her boys came for about a week, and Lil Girl and her brother decided to stay with us most of that week too, because their cousins were here. Which is awesome and wonderful, and I'm so happy that they (mostly) get along because there is such a wide range of ages (8 months to 14 years), and that could be bad news, but (mostly) works for them. One of my most cherished memories of my childhood summers is the week in August that my Virginia cousins would visit... I can remember crying every time they left and almost holding my breath every summer till it was time for them to come back. I'm so glad that my niece and nephews can have the same kind of connection (and, since Sister S's boys only live in New Hampshire, get to have more than one visit a year).
But that's not to say that it didn't take a lot out of me, and really made me realize that I am still - three months post-op - definitely still in a recovery phase. I just didn't have (what passes for) my normal level of stamina or strength, and, by the middle of the week, I was getting lots of concerned questions from both Sister S and Oldest Nephew. They kept asking if I was mad, which is the question I tend to get asked a lot if the pain is showing up on my face. I had to keep reassuring them that I wasn't mad (because I wasn't), just really, really sore. Since I have had 15 years of practice in covering up how badly I am feeling (particularly around the kids), it has to be pretty horrible for that much to be leaking out. I also don't necessarily think it was bad for it to be showing - Sister S, and her oldest boy, to some extent - still don't really "get" the whole chronic illness thing, mostly because they only briefly lived with me while I was ill. They don't quite understand how bad it can get, because I mostly hide it when they are here, so as not to put a damper on the visit. Which is possible on a weekend visit, or a day trip, but for a whole week? Never gonna happen. Eventually it catches up with me, and in this case, it was definitely sooner rather than later.
While they were here, we managed to get most of the whole immediate family crew together (minus Sister K who went to Montana with her boyfriend) for a little trek to a local old timey amusement park. It's a place that holds a lot of memories for most of us, as Nana (5th grade teacher extraordinaire) used to take her classes there on a field trip every year. She and the other chaperones would bring beach chairs and park under a giant willow tree, while the kids ran across the parking lot to the arcade with the warnings of "Absolutely no one goes to the beach!" and "If you don't come when I blow this whistle, we leave without you and you can explain to your parents why you didn't make the bus" ringing in their ears.
This trip we all had a great time, we took lots of pictures, and I will talk about it some more in a later picture filled post. But it was a really special day.
Added to that, I got a visit from College Roommate/ Best Friend, and her two little girls, who I haven't seen since before Christmas, because of various illnesses (on my part) and busy social calendars (on hers). We had a very nice visit, and definitely won't go so long this time in between. And then one of those fore mentioned Virginia cousins - who now lives in Maine - came down with her mom, husband and little boy and we had lunch together at Grandmother's house, with her kids and the kids my heart says are part mine running around in the yard while we - the grownups!?! - watched from the porch. It was pretty awesome, although I still really, really don't feel like a grownup.
So that's where I've been: visiting with sisters and brothers and nieces and nephews and best friends and their kids and Virginia cousins that now live in Maine, and taking field trips down memory lane. As exhausting, punishing and painful as it has been physically, it was definitely worth it. Although I am still recuperating - from both the summer and the stupid surgery - I'm glad that we got a chance to get everybody together, and that so many people I've been missing managed to make their way to me this summer.
Plus, now I have a ton of photos to edit, and some of them I actually love, so it's bonuses all around.
*I have no idea where the Southern accent came from: I apologize for the "boy howdy."