The only trouble with going out of town is returning home. When you get home, you have laundry to do and life just waiting for you. For instance, although we made it home by 3:30 today, I spent an hour cleaning and straightening the kitchen and then another hour talking with Paul via SightSpeed. Then, it was off to dinner with Nana and Pop and now I'm just settling in for an evening of grading papers and writing lesson plans. Fun!
The weekend was wonderful and sad combined. I've got so much to share and very little time in which to do so this evening--I'm in SO much trouble if I get to work sans lesson plans!
The trip to Blacksburg was uneventful is crowded. You could see the convoy of Hokies all heading to our Mecca, most of the vehicles adorned with magnets and flags. Enjoying the back roads as I do, I exited onto Rt. 11 and spent 30 minutes in traffic-free peace. While driving I realized something rather amazing--Brien and I are the ones who taught Hannah to take the time to stop and discover and explore. It was us!! We were riding along and off in the distance I caught a peek of two light-up palm trees. They were completely decorated in Christmas tree lights and they were fabulous! I quickly attempted to point them out to B and Lil before we were past them. It was then I realized it was Brien and me who helped teach Han to be sparkly!
As I'm fairly short on time this evening, I'm going to attempt to give a quick recap of my weekend and fill in the details later. The ballgame was emotional and fabulous, as was the walk to and from the game. I missed Hannah so very much while walking through the fields to the game. (B and I always walk from Mom's house, taking the bike trails through her neighborhood to campus.)
Saturday evening we had Mike's burgers for dinner and dined on the Drill Field. Yay! We were intending to head to the Duck Pond but when a parking space on the Drill Field presents itself, you take it! Lily loved running in such wide open spaces and Mom, B and I all paid our respects to the 4/16 victims at the new memorial along with hoards of other Hokies. The line to the memorial seemed to stretch half way across the Drill Field.
Sunday morning we grabbed some Hardee's for brecky and drove into Pembroke to visit the Cascades and Hannah. We inadvertently left Lil's backpack at home and the Mei Tai was nowhere to be found (also at home it would seem) so we were unable to hike to the top. However, we visited with Han down stream and Lily hiked quite a way on her own. In fact, she was very unhappy with us when we made her turn around to return to the parking lot!
Sunday afternoon found us visiting with Mom's friend (ours too!) Brenda. We met at the Cracker Barrel for dessert and had such a lovely visit. Lil decided to play friendly and let Brenda carry her through the fun store as they explored everything there was to offer. B and I spent our time finding so much Hannah would have loved. Initially, when first shopping without Han I would become sad when faced with items she would have adored. Now, I find bittersweet joy in seeing such items and will search them out. Brien and I are trying to be careful and let Lil's personality shine through and not force any of the Monkey's preferences and loves on her.
Sunday evening was spent with Grandma and Bill. We visited, had dinner and then visited some more. It's just not fair that Grandma should have to experience this loss all over again. I feel so guilty that so many are suffering with the loss of the Monk. I feel like it's all my fault and my heart aches that I have caused so many so much pain. I worry that my family secretly blames me for Hannah's death because deep down inside I think I still do.
This morning we hit the road and I81 and I64 were crowded messes. B and I determined Rt. 5 would be the best path home to avoid all the congestion on the interstate. It was a lovely ride and I was glad we did it. Rt. 5 is known as the corridor of plantations and there are SO many along the way.
Lily was such a sweetie on the way home. She slept for the first half and then, once awake, she was chipper and happy, laughing and having such a good time. :o) I realized we have not sung the silly nursery rhyme songs with her like we did with Han and decided we had better rectify that. We sang the ABC's and "Old MacDonald" and "Baa Baa Black Sheep" and "How Much is the ________ in the Window" (fill in the blank with the animal of your choice and make appropriate animal sounds in appropriate places). We sang and sang and sang and laughed and laughed and laughed. It was such fun and really lifted my spirits as they have been quite low during spurts this weekend.
Today's Hannah Story:
Hannah loved to sing and jabber from a very early age. She was the one who started singing, "How much is that kitty in the window? Meow meow" and got us started singing an entire zoo of critters. The Monk also notoriously slaughtered songs, as do most small children. "Twinkle twinkle" found it's lyrics changed to "buppa buppa world so high..." while "Baa Baa Black Sheep" had "Baa baa black sheep, have you any more?". While chanting the story of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," "Goldilocks she woke, she broke the potty and she beat it outta there!". Such a silly, happy Monkey.
Hm, with apologies to REM, "Silly happy Monkeys singing songs!"
I'm doing fairly well this evening. Friday was another fantastic day, Saturday found me down and up and yesterday was the same. This morning I awoke feeling ill and unbearably sad. I had a dream about people coming to see me and sharing stories of life without Hannah and it was so hard to listen to them and so hard to move on without her.
In the news I seem to be bombarded with stories of families losing their children through tragic accidents. My heart hurts so badly for these families because I know what the road ahead holds for them and I desperately wish it weren't so. All I can do is say prayers for them to find peace and understanding, something that is still quite often elusive for me.
Tomorrow is the first day of public school. We should have been labeling and setting out school supplies and choosing first day of school outfits. Instead, I'm saying a prayer of thanks that Hannah is having such fun now and that she won't have her heart broken by careless words and unkindnesses. Han was such a sensitive little soul and her poor little heart was so easily bruised by unkind or thoughtless words--I know I was the cause of much anguish, much to my chagrin. The one thing Hannah wanted more than anything else was to be friends with everyone. She wanted everyone to love her and be her friend and so often children can be unintentionally cruel to one another. I'm so glad Monkey Mine is surrounded by more friends than she could ever have imagined. :o)
I miss her so dreadfully this evening and know tomorrow will be difficult. I'm eternally grateful I'll leave before the bus and get home after the bus. Tomorrow is a BIG milestone.
1. The plantation houses on the backroads.
2. The big, gaudy sparkly button on my inherited denim capris! :oP
3. I've lost 16 pounds so far. Yay me!
4. The kitty is being nice and snuggly this evening--a product of the contraband catnip we found he had torn open while we were away??
5. Sleeping in my own bed, on my own sheets tonight.
6. Remembering the beauty of the pre-game show on Saturday (I hope to get to it tomorrow).
7. The beautiful memorial for the victims of 4/16.
8. Tech students on scavenger hunts. :o)
9. Butterflies at the Cascades.
10. Raccoon prints at the Cascades!
11. The tiny little froggies sitting on our porch light this evening. :o)
1. Leaving Blacksburg--it is never easy or fun for me. I'm so homesick...
2. Acknowledging my fear of familial blame for Hannah's death. Mom told me she had a relationship with Hannah she has never had with another human being and I feel so guilty I was responsible for destroying that.
3. I'm tired of second guessing myself and playing the what-if game. It has GOT to stop! I can't play that game any more as it is unproductive and serves no purpose other than to make me feel even worse.
Even as a short recap this has taken over an hour to post. Man! I'm off to write lesson plans and wish all public school teachers the best first day of school EVER!!!! My thoughts and prayers are with you all tomorrow! :o)