Family, friends, flowers, fruit…

I was finally able to visit my family a week and a half ago, after waiting what seemed like forever. I had to wait until we were all vaccinated (now we are, even the teenager!), and I had to wait until after the semester and my contract were over. Those events finally converged right before Memorial Day here in the US, and I planned a road trip out East to spend time with them for the first time in nearly 18 months (we last saw each other around New Year’s, 2020).

I know that others are still waiting for the opportunity to spend time with their own beloved family members, and I hope that you get to experience the same happiness I felt at seeing my own family very soon.

Anyway, I wound up driving out all in one day – about a 13.5 hour drive with stops. Hard but not impossible, particularly when you are bound and determined to reach your destination. There was no way – despite what I told my father, who worried that I’d be too tired to make it – that I was going to stop with only a few hours left in the drive, when I knew that I could be seeing them instead. No. Way. So I pushed through, helped by fairly liberal amounts of caffeine and snacks.

And oh, was it worth it. The hugs alone were worth it. I am not a very physically affectionate person, unlike the rest of my family, but those hugs… they were just what I needed to remind myself that this was real. The best part about the visit was that we did not try to do too much. We spent time together. I toured the gardens. We went on walks. I went on early-morning runs. We went to the farm stand, the stores, on a country drive. We had ice cream and strawberries for dessert. We (finally) celebrated my nephew’s birthday. Dinner with my second parents. Good food… so much good food (which, remember, is my family’s love language).

One of dad’s flower pots… a bit out of focus but oh, so beautiful.

Then it was over. I was driving back home before I knew it. I hope with all my heart that it won’t be 18 months before I see them again. I hope that we have mostly kicked this virus, but I also know that vaccination rates are slowing down and it’s entirely possible that by the holidays we will be back under restrictions. But I can’t let myself think of that now…. instead, I’ll remember the joy I felt spending time with some of my favorite people in the world, and look forward to the next time.

Yes, it was strawberry season. And yes, they were just as good as they looked.

10 thoughts on “Family, friends, flowers, fruit…

  1. Oh, Anne, it makes me so happy to hear that you got to see your family after 18 months! <3
    I would have totally pushed through driving these last few hours just to get there…. and just hanging out, going for walks, and eating good food sounds like the perfect way to reunite after such a long time. I am so happy for you.

    1. San, thank you so much. It really was wonderful to see them. I know you haven’t been able to see your family, and that you don’t even know when it might happen. I can’t wait to read a similar post from you sharing your joy at seeing your family. I hope that it is sooner rather than later…
      I’ve (finally) learned that just relaxing into a visit with my parents is much better than trying to work all the time and being frustrated when I can’t get much done. I see them so infrequently that focusing on our time together makes for a much more joyful visit.

  2. Oh, I’m so happy to hear about the joy you’ve experienced seeing your family again! I can’t wait to see mine too… perhaps this autumn it will happen.
    Your stay there sounds wonderful with your early morning runs and walks in the garden!
    I’m also worried about the future and if this really is the end of the pandemic… but I also choose not to think about it, and to just enjoy the moment.

    1. Thanks so much, Susanne. It was really a wonderful visit. Perhaps the best part was seeing how things had NOT changed. I hope that you can see your family soon, too.

      I’ve really learned to just focus on spending time with my parents when I visit them, rather than trying to fit too much in, work in my “spare moments”, and then get frustrated when I’m not productive. That’s not the point of these visits! So yes, the runs and the walks in the garden (and, of course, the food :>) were wonderful.

      I am trying to stay positive, too. It’s hard sometimes. I hope that you are fully vaccinated soon (if not already?).

      1. We’ll receive our second shot in two weeks time. I can’t wait! And from what I’ve read, a week after the second jab we’re protected. Oh my goodness, the celebration!

        1. That is wonderful – and you will both be vaccinated at the same time, so you can venture out together. I imagine you are already planning your first post-vaccine outing. (I suspect it will have something to do with music, but I may be wrong… :>)

          1. We actually plan to do a “guitar weekend” in Dublin, to hang out in music shops and try different guitars! That won’t be the first trip though. I’m not sure what the first trip will be. I’m actually more interested in eating in a restaurant to begin with! We used to eat out quite much and I really miss it.

          2. That is the perfect first activity for you! I hope that you have a wonderful time. 🙂 I ate in a restaurant – outside – for the first time yesterday and I was okay while we were there, but after we left I was a bit nervous as I’d gone in to the restaurant briefly without my mask. I think that’s how I’ll be for a while, and I am okay with that. I hope you choose a good restaurant and thoroughly enjoy having someone else cook for you. 😉

  3. This is so fabulous! What a joyous, rejuvenating trip. I am so glad you got to see them! And I am so impressed you did that long drive! Did you listen to podcasts or music?

    1. I’m so happy, too. Still. 2 weeks later. 🙂 It was definitely rejuvenating – that is the perfect word! Believe it or not, I did not listen to something the entire way. I actually work in silence most of the day (well, with the exception of the noise from my upstairs neighbor, sigh), and find that I often want the same in the car. I listened to part of an audiobook (hmm, need to figure out a time to finish that) and did rely on streaming ESPN radio streaming to get me through some more stressful parts (ahem, Chicago traffic on my way home… never fails…).

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