Monday, October 12, 2015

Weeks 29 and 30

We spent the last 2 weeks of July in Nova Scotia. I had so many mixed feelings about traveling home for this visit. Of course, I wanted to see Dad, Laura, Tess, and the little girls, and well as other family and friends, but this would be my first trip home "for fun" since Mom passed away. 

I dreaded being there without her, and I had so many emotions about Tilly's first visit. I so desperately wanted Dad and Laura to see her, but it was almost too much to handle that Mom wouldn't have the chance to hold her, squeeze her, kiss her, and "grit her teeth" at her. 

Still, I knew there would be some therapy in being home, and so I tried to focus on being in the moment with loved ones and the taking the emotions as they came.

We set off for the airport early in the morning, though for a few days before we took flight, I was worried that we wouldn't be healthy enough to make the trip! Fevers, ear infections, stomach bugs, oh my!

Thankfully, we were all healthy (enough), and our travels were mostly smooth sailing flying.

We arrived home late at night- I think it was after midnight, so we went to sleep not too long after arriving. However, the next day, we hit the ground running. After Nora explored Grampy's yard for a while and we went shopping for some last minute odds and ends, we headed out to Mira.

I don't think we made it in the door at our Mira vacation home when Auntie Laura had Tilly scooped up.

Ruby was pretty into her, too!

Of course Auntie scooped Nora up, too, and Tilly and Talia made fast friend.

These 2 monkeys. There are no words for how silly they are.

We arrived on Laura's birthday, and apparently we had birthday cake commitment issues. I guess we figured we needed 3 cakes to fit her 36 candles.

Enough cake- more kisses for the baby!

Once we got settled in, we began to explore the property, and it was perfect.

Laura, Reg, and their girls had spent a couple of nights there already, and they were pretty worn out, so they decided to head home for the night. Brad, Nora, Tilly, Tessa, Dad, and I settled in for the evening with food, a fire, marshmallows, a guitar, and the beautiful view.

We enjoyed the view equally during the day. Nora and I did some lounging, and we all took turns soaking in the salt water. I swear it can heal almost anything that ails you.

Here Brad and I are on our last night on the Mira. Fresh-faces and bundled up (because even in summer it gets chilly on the water).

I spent a lot of time looking out on the water and thinking about Mom. I took many treks up and down the hill to and from the house to the water grabbing drinks, snacks, books, and imagining the conversations mom and I would have if she had been there with us. 

Once we got back into town, we really just spent a lot of time together at Dad's house. The weather turned kind of cool and rainy, so we spent a lot of time inside, but I didn't mind too much. We might have gone a little shack-happy, but mostly, it was just nice to be there.

We did get a couple of nice days, though, and we took advantage of one pretty afternoon by walking some neighborhood trails. Dad knew his way around, and Nora loved the adventure.

Another afternoon, Brad and I hit the boardwalk with the girls. It's a vacation staple. We can't pass up walking along the harbor and seeing the giant fiddle. On this trip, Nora talked us into stopping at one of the little ice cream stands along the way as well. (She had to twist our arms, obviously.)

As I mentioned, there was a lot of in-door time, but we tried to make the best of the close quarters. Nora looks pretty pleased with her grape popsicle and her new puppet friends.

We also went with Dad up to the Cove to visit Nanny. She had met Nora once before, but she this was obviously her first time meeting the baby. She couldn't get enough of the girls, and while I know her memories are fleeting, it will nice to see her so happy in the moment.

Of course, we made sure to visit with Pat and Theresa, and while we were there, we Facetimed with Vincent and Jane, which was pretty cool. Over the past few months since we left Nova Scotia, Nora has mentioned Uncle Pat a few times. He must have really made an impression.

Of course, something good for my heart was seeing my girls with all of their cousins. Here she is with Jaxson, Danielle's sweet boy. She was so taken with him and talked about him a LOT in the first few weeks after we got home. She thought he was just the cutest, funniest little guy she'd ever met. They share a love of goldfish and Bubble Guppies.

And of course, we squeezed in as much time as we could with all the girls. Nora would have been happy to attach herself to Tessa's hip for the entire visit if Tess would have allowed it.

Brad and I wanted to celebrate with Nora and Reg who are expecting a baby. We didn't know it at the time, but have since learned that we will have a new NIECE in January. I am so excited! We celebrated by taking them to Embers, which was a treat for Brad, too, since it was a little taste of Tennessee in Nova Scotia. Southern Barbeque in Cape Breton. Who would have thunk it?

I had to take the opportunity to get a picture of me with Tess. I adore this awesome young person so much. Always have and always will.

Well, the trip had to eventually come to an end, so we headed back to the airport bright and early. It was hard to say goodbye not knowing exactly when our next visit would be and having a deeper appreciation for not knowing when you say "see you later" if we will actually get to see each other later.

Just like on our way to Nova Scotia, the girls were great (though restless) in the airports. 

And after a looooong day, this was about the most welcome sight I could imagine.

So, it was a wonderful, heart-breaking, heart-mending, therapeutic, gut-wrenching visit with my Dad, and while Mom wasn't there in body, there wasn't a minute that I wasn't keenly aware of exactly where she would have and should have been the entire time I was home. Her presence was oddly strong and missing all at the same time.

I'm hoping Dad and Tess will be down here in Tennessee next summer, and we can start planning our next trip to Nova Scotia after that.