It's hard to believe yesterday morning I was leaving home, then yesterday afternoon I was in my hometown with my best friend and our girls and now I'm sitting here with my sister and baby niece. Travel is a surreal and wonderful thing.
I'm having a freaking blast so far. Got to Grace's around 4:30 yesterday afternoon, just in time to pee, freshen up and head out the door. We picked Becky up and headed to Crystal River for the football game in which Elizabeth was cheering the last time as a middle school student. All the kids were so excited to see me which made me so happy/sad - I was there for so much time over the years and it makes me sick I'm missing out on watching them all grow up. Little Brandon's friggin voice has changed since the last time I saw him and he's now taller than me.
Not only that, I got to catch up with Nicole, a great friend from high school and whom I haven't seen since we graduated. It was amazing to see her and I was so glad to meet her gorgeous family. No really - her son who's a football player for the middle school is model-beautiful. Nicole and I used to have a lot of fun together and I was happy to see she remembered all the stuff I remember, including the boys we loved back then.
After the game we all went to Wendy's, I think there were twelve of us and we pushed tables together and had a boisterous post-victory game dinner. That's one thing about being from a small town. A lot of people I grew up with still live there but now they're cops and teachers and parents with kids who are getting to have the same fun childhood we had. I love where I live, but there's something so comforting about going back there and having so many people happy to see me.
It goes without saying Becky was going to spend the night with us, as is the way every time I'm there. We were in bed by 2:00 too, which is very very rare for us, but with the tight schedule I'm on this week I knew I couldn't handle an all-nighter. Instead of the usual late-night neighborhood walk (man we would've frozen our balls off had we done that), we had a mass burial for Grace's eight-year-old goldfish, all of whom finally expired recently. She'd been saving them in the freezer waiting for me before performing the burial. This is the kind of thing we do, which you may find odd, but I don't. She found a nice tin, marked it with their names and dates, duct taped it shut and we buried them out in the back yard. We all said a few words in loving memory, in between laughing so hard we nearly wet ourselves. Good times.
I'd wanted to bring Becky to Orlando with me to act as my surrogate daughter and she was torn. She loves being with me and has missed me, but felt bad because her sister had hand sewn a Halloween costume for her to wear Friday night. I told her not to fret; I'll be back there in six weeks or so and we'll have a lot more time together then. Six weeks is nothing when you consider I hadn't been there in ten months. I believe that's the longest I've ever stayed away and I don't plan on having that happen again. These damn kids are growing up too fast for that.
So I brought her home this afternoon and headed out of town around 2:30. Got to Sister's roughly ninety minutes later and we went to get Kennedy from her day care. I can't describe the feeling of seeing her for the first time since February. She can walk and talk now. She's being a little shy with me, which I expected and I respect that because I was the exact same way as a little kid. I'm not one of those loud pushy adults either; I will let her warm up to me slowly and I know it'll happen because she's already staring at me whenever we're in the same room. She is amazing.
Tomorrow we embark on our journey to Disney and our cool resort place. The family is already stalking us via texts and phone calls, but tonight is all about sister time and relaxing.
I still can't quite grasp I'm here, but it's been really really good so far.