“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”
-Laura Ingalls Wilder
This week we ditched our regular projects and activities and loaded up the van on two separate occasions for some long-ish day trips to meet family. The first one was to meet my sister-in-law and her two kids at the Mall of America. Although I married Katie's baby brother, I actually met her first, before I had ever even heard the name of my future husband. It was a chance encounter at Country Jam, where we happened upon each other in the campgrounds and my friends pointed her out as the sister of the soldier from our hometown who was injured in Iraq. Katie and I didn't interact much at that musical festival, but the memory of our first meeting still lingers in my mind. We've never lived in the same city, always hours and miles apart, but over the years we've gradually connected as friends separate from the "in-law" title. Just this morning we sent off a frenzy of text messages discussing at length our heated opinions regarding the ending of the Divergent series. It went something like this:
(I won't get into specifics on the topic as to not ruin the series for anyone currently or planning on reading it.)
So when Katie suggested we meet halfway between our respective homes for a play date the week she is on spring break, I jumped at the opportunity. My boys don't see their cousins often enough anyway. Maybe driving two hours for brief visit is excessive, but it's most definitely worth it. The kids connected as if their last reunion hadn't been months ago.
Our second family date this week was for a farewell lunch with my mom before she moves clear across the country. After receiving a clean bill of health from her doctor here in Minnesota and selling her home, she packed up and is starting fresh in a new city. Having never lived more than three hours away from my mom, the thought that she'll be so many miles away is a bit unsettling. Even grown women need their mommies sometimes.
My Grandma Faye and little sister, Sheila, came along for the ride. It was a nice lunch, visiting with my family I so dearly miss living a few hours away from them. After nibbling our way through lunch and sharing a rich lava cake, we embraced for what could be the last time in quite a long while. Although I will miss my mom, I can see the happiness radiate out of her and the confidence in her decision is evident. Apparently a vacation to the west coast is in our distant future!