Photo: Back row - Jeffrey(25), Daddy(59), Michael (26); Middle row - Lori Beth (almost 32), Aimee (me, 36); Front row - Frankie (almost 7) and Angel (4). There were so many cameras; I think we're all looking at a different one!
So the trip to Texas was hot, but that's not going to surprise anyone. Driving down there always brings a lot of memories to my mind as I think about the ones who have gone on before me. I think about my Ma and Papa, Pawpaw, Nanny B. and aunt Adelyn, among others.
I also think of the of the dozens of folks who are still there, whom I just don't get to see enough. I no longer have to wonder about the people I haven't met and that is a tremendous load off my mind. I finally got to meet my brother Michael and his little boy Mike. I was a little nervous about the meeting; I won't lie. But, I started thinking about the whole experience and trying to imagine it from Michael's perspective - he was actually meeting 4 of us for the first time; seeing our brother Jeff for the first time in 4 years and seeing our dad for the first time in 10 years. Most of the aunts, uncles and cousins hadn't seen Michael since he was a little boy. Needless to say, I bet he had a lot more to be nervous about. I have to say I'm overwhelmed by all of it, in a good way. The Sunday we all got together was so laid back and relaxing even though it we were outside in 98-degree heat. The tree canopy at my aunt's house was very comfortable and we all sat around catching up and enjoying each other.
I didn't have any real deep conversations with Michael, but it was a very good start to our relationship and I'm just so glad it worked out this way. I wish he wasn't going to the Middle East at the end of the month, but I assured him we'd be praying for him the entire time. He'll have e-mail access and so we'll be able to continue corresponding that way until he gets back.
Another positive is that Zachary and Lil' Mike sure became fast friends. Lil' Mike was driving Bella's princess car around the yard when we got there. Zachary climbed right in and they took off until the battery went dead. They had a blast. They are only about a year apart, Lil' Mike will soon be four. He even got Zachary to play in the sand box. If you know Zach at all, this is a minor miracle as he HATES getting dirty. He played for awhile and then made me take him inside as he was repeating "mommy, keen me up, peas." haha
I just think a lot of healing took place last week and I truly believe that God does work all things together for good. My mom was praying that for all of us and well, when she prays, things happen. Sometimes I think she has a more direct line to the heavenly throne than most of us.
I also got to spend some quality time with my dad for the first time in a LONG time. It seems like the last few times we've been around each other it's very rushed and there's always a slew of people around to distract us. The Friday night we got to Texas, we headed down to my dad's house and just hung out for several hours with him, Frankie and Angel. His wife was at work so it was just all of us. We really did enjoy ourselves and I had a chance to really speak openly with my dad about my attitude of forgiveness and acceptance of my brothers and sister and even him. I just know things are going to be better with this attitude. No, I can't forget all the pain but I can choose not to dwell on it and choose to make things different on my part from now on. I want to have a relationship with him and ALL my siblings and I think the week was a great start for all of that.
Each time I go home to Texas or Oklahoma, I just get more homesick afterward. It really sucks.