Over Labor Day weekend, our oldest son and his wife traveled from Iowa to VA with their six children to spend a week at Papa and Grammy's house, reconnecting with all their Pearl aunts, uncles, and cousins here, as well as a number of old friends.
If you read this blog often enough, you know all the details; but I'll repeat them for those of you who are new here. Our firstborn's beautiful family lived near us for over four years (when I say near, I truly mean near: they were less than 20 minutes away!). In fact, they moved here just months after we'd made our big move down from our "forever home" in NH, where we'd lived for 26 years. During their years in VA, they not only spent a lot of quality time with their extended Pearl family; they also made a number of lasting connections in their Catholic homeschooling community. The kids made lots of great playmates, many of whom have become pen pals; and the parents also found their tribe of like-minded adults, whose shared major goal is helping their children become saints.
Faith, family, friends; what else is there, am I right? But sometimes, job situations require a change. So in January, these precious people moved to Iowa, and they purchased a home on more than four acres, where they could fulfill their dream of becoming homesteaders. And our son's schedule at his new company has afforded him so much more time at home with his family (and time to tend to the cows, ducks, and chickens!). It was a hard move for them to make (hard for Papa and Grammy, too, I won't lie); but it was the right move. We don't doubt that they will be blessed in their new life, and that before long, their group of friends will grow and begin to resemble what they had here in VA.
Anyway, it was a wonderful week. Once again, we had ALL of our grandchildren close by, and we were able to get them together for a family party on the Sunday before Labor Day.
|There they are, together again: all of our grandchildren (so far!).|
Soon, we're going to need a bigger stoop for taking pictures!
My husband and I usually attend an early daily Mass together; but the week our Iowa gang was with us, I stayed home each day instead. I wanted to be there to make the kids breakfast, letting their mom sleep in with the baby or at least get a much-deserved break. So this is what my view was every morning, as I fed bread and/or bagels into the toaster and slathered on the butter and jam.
|I miss starting my mornings with this crew!|
There was a lot of visiting with the different Pearl families in the area through the week, and some visiting with friends; but there were illnesses running through some of the families that caused play date cancellations, and our granddaughters were worried that they would have to go back to Iowa without having a chance to hang out with all their VA besties.
Luckily, the night before they were to leave, all of the friends most important to them (three other couples and their many offspring) were able to gather at a local brewery, a wonderful spot with endless grassy fields where the kids could roam and still be within eyeshot of their parents.
This establishment allows guests to bring their own food, so we all brought snacks to share for a picnic dinner, and the adults enjoyed some craft beers. At 7:00, the live music (a mix of country and classic rock tunes) started at a little outdoor bandstand, and the kids started dancing.
As it got dark, the outdoor lights that were strung everywhere went on, and we watched the moonrise while the kids--most of whom were up way past their bedtimes!--played a rousing game of "Ghost in the Graveyard." The weather cooperated: it wasn't too hot or buggy, and the moon was one day shy of being full. It was utterly magical, a perfect night and a great way for our son's family to end their weeklong visit with us.
My husband and I thought of this brewery get-together as mostly for them. We thought of ourselves as merely flies on the wall. (We weren't even sure that we should go, but they insisted they wanted us there.) After socializing for a little bit with the other couples around the food-laden picnic table, we went off and sat together in comfy Adirondack chairs on the hill, enjoying our beers and watching the kids play while our son and his wife chatted with their peers. I made sure to take a lot of pictures, because I want to make a memory book for our grandkids. But it was sweet: a number of times, one or the other of the oldest two (the twins) would come over to check on us and make sure that we were okay--that we weren't too lonely and were having fun. We assured them that we were doing just fine, and to go and enjoy themselves.
We must be the luckiest grandparents on earth, to have so many of our grandchildren living nearby (13 out of the 19 now, and that's not too shabby!), and to have such loving relationships with the ones who are far away. We couldn't be more blessed.
So we've officially shifted back into our VA life now, after spending the summer months in Upstate NY. It's good to be back!