This weekend my sister and her husband, John Michael, brought their wittle bitty newborn, Tillman, down to visit. I was so excited to see them. The last time we all got together it was for my dad’s memorial service, so I was ready for a happier reason to get together. And the weekend did not disappoint!
Ginny actually got into town on Wednesday, but since Chris and I were working, she spent a few days with my mom. That gave Nana some good one-on-one time with her newest grandson. On Friday, they headed down to our house in Orlando to spend the night. We picked John Michael up from the airport that night, too, so we had a full house! It was a great feeling!
I got me some good snuggle time in with Tillman, too! Turns out being an aunt is AWESOME. You get to snuggle and cuddle and blubber and nibble all you want, but you never had to change a diaper! It’s the greatest thing ever!
Gracie, however, was no so sure about Baby Tillman. She loved the idea of him. She’d stand across the room and yell in her high-pitched little voice, “Hey, Baby!” But she didn’t like him moving around and crying. She’d stand close to him and talk to him, but the minute he moved, she’d bolt across the room with a look that seemed to say, “What the heck is wrong with that baby doll????”
We are a football family, so Saturday morning we got up early and everyone donned their school’s football gear. Chris, Ginny and Bean wore Gator gear. Gracie, Nana and I wore FSU. John Michael wore Auburn. And Tillman seemed to change clothes multiple times depending on whose team was playing. It was a fun, laid back day.
Even Sarah came by for a few baby snuggles, though Gracie took up most of those…
Saturday evening, the plan was for all of us to head back to my mom’s house to spend the night. But I had been battling a terrible sinus headache all day and was not feeling good at all, so we sent Bean off with Nana, Aunt Ginny, Uncle JM, and Tillman, while Gracie hung back with me and Chris at our house. We put Gracie to bed right away (she’d been a pill all day and was just exhausted!), and Chris and I sat up a bit to watch Florida State break my heart.
We got up and going early on Sunday and headed to my mom’s house to hang out for the morning. She was actually playing golf with her golf group, so we all hung out around her house without her for a while. It was great to watch my sister and JM in parenting action. They are SUCH good parents already. It seems like they’ve been doing it for years. They are laid back and funny and calm, no matter what’s going on. Ginny is breastfeeding like a freaking rock star – no problems whatsoever for her or Tillman – and they are using BabyWise to schedule Tillman. He is like a little champ when it comes to his schedule already! Ginny will say that he’ll need to nap in about ten minutes, and in about nine minutes, Tillman would fall right asleep all on his own. It was incredible! I’m so happy FOR them and proud OF them.
We took the kids for a walk in the late morning, and it was hysterical. So many little kids! Ginny and I kept saying, “I can’t believe we had all these babies!”
(Look! Chris and Bean are finally as tall as Uncle JM!)
Halfway through our walk, Gracie got tired. So she stopped. And stood there. For five minutes. She totally zoned out and went to her own little world for a second. “She’s in Graceland!” Ginny laughed. She finally snapped back to life when she saw Bean get up on Chris’s shoulders. Of course, the first thing she squealed was, “Me, too!”
We met my mom’s golf group up at the country club for lunch when they were finished. It was so much fun to be out and about with Ginny and her little family. We rolled up into the restaurant with four adults and three kids – ages 3, 18 months, and 7 weeks. I thought it was going to be insane. But it was actually a lot of fun! The kids were good and well behaved, the food was great, and we got to talk about things like home security systems and daycare costs and taxes! It’s like we’re real adults!
We spent the rest of the day just lounging around. My Grandma came over and played for a while, and the boys went to take care of some things for my mom that she needed done around the house. Ginny and I played with the kids and the kitties, and watched Gracie give mushy kisses the sliding glass door. And life was just generally good.
As good as it makes me feel to see my family, it can still be a little hard. I feel like we are constantly waiting for someone else to show up. It’s not a sad feeling. Just a different one. And that can make it a little tough sometimes. But we keep my dad with us when we’re together. We talk about him and laugh about him, and I know that he would be so proud of the way we are all working towards moving forward.
But, gosh how I miss him. I miss him in the big milestone moments, like when Bean played soccer for the first time. And I miss him in the little moments, like sitting around together watching football. I miss hearing him talk to my kids and goof around with my mom. But mostly I miss him talking to me. He’d always find time in the weekends we were together to hug me and ask me about work and tell me what a good mom I was and how proud he was of me. It’s not that no one else in my family says those things to me or makes me feel important. But I miss hearing it from him. Most of the time, I can push that feeling of something missing aside with schoolwork or housework or reading or something else that occupies my mind. But on weekends like this when we’re all together as a family, just enjoying each others company, it’s hard to ignore the one big thing that is missing.
All of this is to say that I am a very blessed woman. I have a family that makes my heart full and happy. I have children who make every day fun and exciting. I have a husband who thinks I hung the moon. And though it sometimes feels like someone is missing, I know that my life is not really missing anything at all. It is only readjusting to fill that hole until I see my dad again.