Of course the hardest part of this trip is being away from my children and grandchildren. Right from the start, about a year and half ago, I knew I would miss them more than words could express. Once we arrived in Grenada I planned a trip to the states so that I could visit my family. Unfortunately, I planned my trip right during the high point of hurricane season which, although Grenada is relatively safe from hurricanes, was still enough of a risk that John felt uncomfortable leaving AfterMath and the island. We will travel together this winter though, but this month I set off to Florida and Maryland.
August 29th was our oldest granddaughter, Michaela’s, 9th birthday. On that day, I flew from Grenada to Miami, then from Miami to Jacksonville where Kelly, Craig, Michaela, Carter, and Madison live. Jason, our oldest son, and his girlfriend, Lisa, planned a visit while I was there to celebrate Michaela’s big day. Michaela and her siblings had no clue I was coming (Kelly and I have a hard time keeping quiet, but we did it!), so Jason and Lisa picked me up at the airport. They came prepared with a large box and big red bow. When we got to Kelly and Craig’s house I climbed in the box, they attached the bow, and I called Michaela to wish her a happy birthday. Although she thought I was still in Grenada, I told her there was a gift for her on the front porch. She made her way to the porch and opened the box. To say it was a happy surprise for all would be an understatement! We hugged, cried, and kissed a lot. I will always remember that day, and hopefully, Michaela will too.
We have passed through Jacksonville Landings so many times in the past!Miss Maddie loving the fountains.Lisa leading Madison right through the middle!Uncle Jason (Sweater) and Maddie having so much fun.
Jason and Lisa stayed in Jacksonville till late Tuesday and after a fun shopping trip and a lunch at Jacksonville Landing, Lisa gave Kelly, Michaela, Madison and me all new hairstyles. We felt pampered and happy as we sported new colors and new haircuts and we can’t thank Lisa enough for all of her time taking care of us.
Nana is allowed to be very messy. Here is homemade “flubber”.Miss Maddie in ballet class. So many memories of her mom in my heart.
Tuesday night came and Jason and Lisa headed back to New Port Richey, but I stayed in Jacksonville until Saturday. During that time I was able to see Madison attend a ballet and tap class that she now is enrolled in. I have to admit that I was very teary eyed as I watched her. For those of you who don’t know, Kelly was a dancer for most of her life. She started in ballet when she was just Madison’s age and continued through college. Watching Madison brought back so many memories and, as her Nana, I was very sentimental about the whole event. Who would know that the “brush, spank, step” phrase could induce tears in someone my age, but it did.
Michaela looking so grown up. When did this happen?Carter is a bundle of love!Jacksonville Zoo has an amazing tiger habitat.The Komodo dragon and Madison.
Thursday was very exciting for me as my buddy, Susan, drove all the way over from Sarasota just to have lunch with us. Somehow she escaped without us having our picture taken, but it was so wonderful to see her. Then Friday brought Tropical Storm Hermine to Jacksonville, which, thankfully, meant the kids had a day off from school. It was so wonderful to have a full day with the kids and, as the storm lost so much power before it hit the northeast of Florida, we spent the afternoon at Jacksonville Zoo. Everyone had a wonderful time walking around and enjoying the zoo that is so much a part of the lives of Kelly’s family.
Saturday came and it was time to fly to Baltimore to visit Jeff, Sarah, Walt and Rush. Because Hermine was predicted to move up the coast, I was worried that my flights might be delayed, but, thankfully, everything went on time and I was able to fly to see the rest of the family.
Jeff, piloting Toboggan In AnnapolisRush grew so much since we saw him last!!And Walter. How lucky am I to have these grandchildren?Ok, I admit it, I love these guys!
On Sunday, Sarah had to work, but Jeff, Walt, Rush and I headed out on Toboggan, Jeff and Sarah’s “winter” boat to Annapolis for lunch. As usual for Jeff and I, we had a little issue with the boat, but we were able to get things straightened out and we made it to the club to which Jeff and Sarah belong right in the center of Annapolis. The boys and we had a great lunch and loved our trip there.
Monday was a relaxed day for everyone, and included a cookout with friends, but on Tuesday Jeff had to work so Sarah and I decided it would be a great day for a trip to the B & O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. Rush and Walt love trains, so there was much for them to see and experience there. It turns out that the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was the first railroad system in the country. The museum was beautiful and the kids just loved the child friendly atmosphere that exists there. We had such a wonderful time looking at the old trains, playing in the children’s area, and being together.
Jeff in his element.
Later that evening, after Jeff arrived home from work, we took a beautiful sail aboard Jeff and Sarah’s Cape Dory, Prerequisite (yes, my children love boating too). It was wonderful to be under sail again and the light winds and calm seas were just perfect for this boating family.
When my day to leave arrived on Wednesday I was so sad to say goodbye to the USA. What you miss from the states is hard to express. Besides kids and grandkids, I miss friends, the ease of moving around, grocery stores that have anything we need, and so much more, but it was time to return to Grenada, my home away from home this summer. I can’t help but think that I am living a life that is the dream. I love my life in so many ways and I am so happy to be living it.
Next: We are so excited that Becky and Judd will be arriving Thursday. I can’t express how fortunate we are to have such good friends in our lives.