September 6, 2011
August came and went pretty quick.
It started with World Breastfeeding Week and a picnic to celebrate.
Then the kids and I headed south for our annual road trip to North Carolina. Along the way we drove through the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.
We stayed the night in Roanoke, VA and then drove on to Forest City, NC. The kids and I always get excited when we cross into North Carolina and we see the sign with the big red cardinal that says Welcome to North Carolina! This time as we rolled into the Tar Heel State we were greeted with a beautiful rainstorm that cleaned the car of 600 plus miles of road smudge.
In Forest City we visited my Grandmother and lots of aunts, uncles and cousins of many generations. These visits are bittersweet. This is Mama’s family and she is no longer with us. It is wonderful to see my Grandma and all of my loving family. I love that the kids have the opportunity to see their southern roots and to feel the love. I hope that they get a sense of their Grandma K.
After a quick visit in Forest City we drive east to Raeford/Fayetteville. This is where I grew up.
Raeford is where my dad and sister, Traci Bracey, live. Traci and Glenn have four kids and I love when all the cousins get together. The reunion is also a bit of a jolt at the beginning with little sharp pricks of sadness as I walk through Mama and Daddy’s house and see Mama’s art and her touch. This house they built in their forties to live in into old age. It has been nearly seven years and the deep circles under Daddy’s eyes have faded but are still evidence of his grief. We can talk about Mama without crying each time. But a good cry usually happens at least a couple of times.
And, we can celebrate her. Traci and I like to tell our children Mama stories.
Finn got to ride in the back of a pick which Phoebe later got to drive under the patient direction of Uncle Glenn!
I had a gathering of old friends. My birthday is in June and I used to have friends get together for my birthday as a sort of reunion when we went to college and then moved off in various spots across the state and country. These days when I go back I try to keep that up.
Leaving is always hard. I get stressed packing up the kids and the car. As the kids get older they get more attached to their cousins and they don’t want to leave.
Finn climbed a tree with his cousin Connor avoiding getting in the car to head north on I-95.
We did leave in a relatively timely manner and drove to Baltimore. We stayed the night in the Inner Harbor area and went to Philips for the best crab cakes – er, that is what the concierge said, and I have to agree that they were pretty darn delicious..
We got back to NYC just in time to get the laundry done and pack up for Block Island.
Rob and I have been going to Block Island since 1990. It is our family’s Happy Place. It seems a bit more challenging as the kids are getting older and they want to bring along friends. Next year may involve more people! We had amazing weather. Every morning Rob and I took a walk along the beach then jumped into the cool, refreshing water. We rode bikes, we kayaked and we rode horses. We missed the east coast earthquake.
At weeks end we had to get off Block Island a couple hours early as Irene was heading north. We had such a smooth ride on the ferry.
We decided to head to Saugerties as NYC was closing down and evacuating in preparation for Irene.
In Saugerties we hung out with our good friends, Rob and Sakinah, and their family as we weathered Irene. The sky was so dramatic.
We lost electric for a few days. The first night we roasted marshmallows over candles. We consider ourselves lucky as much of upstate was devastated.
We headed back to NYC.
This week the kids start school and we get back into a routine.
This year we have a Junior in high school and a 5th grader and a 1st grader.
Time flies . . . .