We've spent the last 2 weeks traveling to Kansas City and back. It was a trip I dreaded but it turned out wonderfully. I love being around family, but we usually are stationed so far away from them that the drives are usually a day long of straight driving, which is hard on everyone. Since my mom is staying with me while Rafe is deployed to help with therapies and other family concerns, we drove up together and decided to make it a fun trip by stopping along the way. SO much more pleasant than driving straight through. I'll be posting pics in a few days but this weekend is jam packed with activity so I'll probably work backwards.
We came home very late Friday night and unpacked the van before going to bed. Mom took care of Olivia's meds while I was hauling stuff upstairs from the garage. It was a bit sad to turn the corner to our house and see the garage light on in my neighbor's house illuminating the completely empty garage. It was shocking to see their patio completely gone and just a bare layer of dirt below. They received orders to move to Virginia right before we left and the transition was quick!
My daughters and I loved Miss Lori and Mr. Jim. They have been supportive of us from the first day here - praying with us, for us, and in various ways at our side through the past 3 years. Lori is a hospice nurse who volunteered to come for 3 hours every Tuesday to take care of Olivia and give me a break during a time when I couldn't use a normal respite care provider due to the complications of Olivia's medical care and needs.
Amelia used to look out our window and give me constant updates on who was home - Mr. Jim or Miss Lori - by the cars in the drive. When she saw Mr. Jim outside she always asked if she could go "hep" him do something. He was very patient with her and spent hours answering endless questions as she followed him around like a little puppy when he was outside puttering around. Seeing Miss Lori was always cause for excitement and asking to go play with her. Along with two other women, we were the "Three Lori's and a Judy" - feeling a bit like the 4 musketeers as we had our adventures around Beaufort! They have been such a part of our daily lives, especially Lori, that it will be difficult looking out the window and seeing the gash in the dirt as evidence they are truly gone.
Yesterday was also exciting as we attended the retirement ceremony of the other Lori's husband (from the Three Lori's and a Judy). It was very moving to celebrate 22 years of service and dedication and I definitely cried during the process. Afterwards we went to their house for a party and I don't know who had more fun - us or Amelia. She was the only child, other than Olivia, at both the ceremony and party and she was on her best behavior making friends wherever she went. I can tell she misses Daddy because she really gravitated towards the male energy in the room and the daddies were so kind to play with her endlessly. To hear her giggle and laugh made my day. On the way home, she said she had a lot of fun playing with "those big tall boys!!". Olivia was passed around and loved on all night, and it was so much fun to receive compliments on how well behaved they were.
We drove around base housing looking at all the fun Christmas lights after the party and crashed at home. Today is a new day!