When the wig came in on Wednesday, one of my first texts was to my brother, Brett, telling him that we needed to get together and having a redhead pic taken together with his little girl. I mean, now that there are three redheads in our family... it needed to be documented on film. Obviously.
Friday morning, as I was waiting for my doctor appointment, I sent a flurry of texts to my three Arizona brothers to make sure the timing would work for everyone to get together the next day, and... hallelujah, it did.
And thus, the ultimate daytrip/roadtrip was born.
Kirk and I got together around 11:00 yesterday morning, grabbed a quick lunch at Chicka-fil-A (no one loves fried chicken like we do!) and then hit the road. We rolled into Flag around 3:00 (don't even get me started on the one hour pit stop we had on the way when I pulled off to get gas and it took us half an hour just to get close enough to a gas pump to have my debit card denied) and hung out at the park with B&K while Tyler worked the rest of his shift.
Karen was a real trooper and chased Natalie around the park while Brett, Kirk and I sat on the grass and talked about growing up in Taylor, eating casseroles every night (we compared favorites/least favorites - ha!), picking oranges to make fresh-squeezed juice at our California grandparents' house, Grandma cooking a quarter into her chocolate cherry cakes (whoever got the piece with the coin in it got a prize - Brett got $5 once), Uncle Jimmy's gorilla mask and everything else under the sun.
The weather was perfect. The conversation was excellent. The grass was REAL GRASS (not something we see a lot of in The Valley of the Sun). We laughed. Hard.
It was awesome.
We left the park around 5:30, dropped Brett off at The Lumberyard to get us a table, and went back to the house to grab Tyler (he got off work at 6:00) and then met back up for dinner. Over dinner, we discussed who makes the best ribs (Charleston's, hands down... according to Kirk and me, anyway), laughed at memories, had some photos taken and may or may not have (read: definitely did) cry a little about my uncertain future.
Dinner was good. Conversation was great. Sibling bonding was excellent.
And then Kirk and I drove home. We got back to my place around 11:00.
It was a marathon of a day, and I've been paying for it all day long... but it was 12 solid hours of awesome that made today's aches and pains totally worth it.
I'm so glad that I'm well enough to travel (even if it does sort of put me in a body bag to have to sit still, and in the same position, for hours in the car). I'm so grateful that Kirk's schedule was such that he could come with to keep me company and be my backup driver. I'm so happy that I was able to see the little boys before I head to Texas. I will always treasure the memories we made yesterday.
Brett, Natalie and me at the park. Sweet little girl was less than enthused at the thought of holding still to be in a redhead pic with us, but we still love her.
She may not have loved to sit still and look at a camera, but what does love is to swing. High.
That girl is fearless. She's only 17 months old, and she was constantly walking off, trying to make friends with big kids (I'm talking 8 year olds) and a GIANT dog that another family had brought to the park. It's amazing to me, how early kids' personalities start to emerge, and this little one will be a force to be reckoned with. I was so impressed with how brave she is, and how she wouldn't let anything or anyone get in her way of doing what she wanted to do.
Four out of six siblings together for a meal with less than 24 hours planning. Not bad.
All we were missing was Katie and Spencer. (Photo cred goes to Karen. She was a real champ about taking pics at dinner. Love that girl!)
It may have taken my sweet little niece some time to warm up to her aunt who was bald, and then had hair, and then was bald again, but by the end of the night, we were buddies.
I love the sweet little babies/kids in my life, but I'm not physically strong enough to hold them when they wiggle or fight me. I'd been holding Natalie after we tried to get a better "redhead pic", but she got too wiggly, so I had to give her back to her dad. She reached her arms out to me as soon as she landed back in Brett's lap, so I looked her in the eye and told her that I really wanted to hold her, but I couldn't hold her if she wasn't still. She came right back to me, straddled my hips, put her arms around mine, and settled her head on my chest. Within ten minutes, she was out.
Sleeping babies are one of the Lord's tender mercies, and holding that sweet little girl while she slept was one of the best parts of my day/week/month.
I needed to have a pic taken with Tyler and his long hair with me and my bald head. He's been growing his hair out for four years, but it's the first time in his life that his hair's been longer than mine.
Tidy told me that he thinks his hair's grown three inches in the last four months. I told him that was because my hair stopped growing four months ago, and the universe had assigned my typical inch-a-month hairgrowth to him.
(Don't mind that I'm showing my religion in this pic and the one above. I was too busy holding that sleeping baby to have an awareness that anything was amiss with my sleeves. Ha!)
For those of you who don't know, Kirk's been making me laugh OUT LOUD for over 30 years by opening his eyes as wide as he can. (Which, as I'm sure you can see, is not all that wide. That's why it's so awesome.) Feel free to laugh at both of us in this pic. We crack our own selves up. Hard.
And that's what we look like in real life - smiling until our eyes almost close.
Kirk's been my little buddy since he was born. By the time I was ten and he was five, we were inseparable. Before his voice changed, our mom couldn't tell us apart if we were talking/laughing in another room (even now, he has the same laugh as Judy and me, just in a lower, more bass-ish range). I am the typical oldest child, and he's the classic middle, but the two of us are more alike than we are different. Getting to spend the day (and most of the night) together in the car was so great.
Yesterday was awesome - on every level. Those are my favorite days.