Home Again

For me, Mexico was a brief intermission to a bigger show: after 18 long months, I once again had a ticket to Nebraska. Clark and the kids wouldn’t join until the following week, after the state soccer tournament.

I was headed home. Alone.

So much had changed, yet everything felt the same. If that makes sense?

First up: a new family member to meet. My niece is a mom! That means my little brother is now a grandpa, my parents are great-grandparents, and my grandmas are both great-great-grandmas. Say what?!

Five generation photos are rare, and our family now has two. Talk about special. This little guy is already loved beyond words:

Next up: a celebration! My Grandma D. was turning 90, and there was no way I was missing her party. Three years ago I flew from Alaska to Nebraska for a three day weekend to celebrate my Grandma Q.’s 90th birthday, and I’ve never regretted it for a minute. I’m so glad I was able to be there for my Grandma D.’s celebration as well.

She had recently broken her wrist and was in a rehabilitation facility, but we sprung her free for a small celebration at my parents’ house. Family and friends cycled through all afternoon, and Grandma was able to sit outside to hear the birds and see the spring flowers. The long, lonely winter is officially over, and she survived it! She was a great sport about wearing her tiara and sash, and when everyone left we lined up her dozens of birthday cards like dominoes.

We got her back to the rehab center a few hours past curfew, but luckily she didn’t get grounded. In fact, the following week we were able to move her out completely! She was headed back to a new apartment in her old complex, where she is a minor celebrity. It’s a big adjustment, but by the time I left she had art on her walls and the cast off her wrist. As Covid restrictions lift I know things will continue to improve.

A week later it was time for another celebration: a bridal shower for my sister. Almost every RSVP was an enthusiastic yes, which meant another big party at my parents’ home.

The menu included Alaskan smoked salmon with homemade bagels, which we started the night before. In hindsight this was probably not the wisest decision with everything else going on that week, but with the help of old family friends we got ‘er done.

Family and friends, food and flowers… it was an outpouring of love for the beautiful bride-to-be:

The following week we went wedding dress shopping, where Elle found the perfect gown in under an hour. No spoiler photos… you’ll have to wait until the wedding in February to see!

Clark and the kids made it eventually, after the state soccer tournament was complete. They were only in Nebraska for a few days before and after our Mexico trip, but we packed in aplenty including Nola’s birthday dinner (sadly, before they arrived) and not one but two separate batches of her homemade ice cream (happily, they made it in time for both). It was so, so fun to have an adorable toddler in the mix again. He wasn’t even walking the last time we saw him, and now he is kicking balls and braving water slides!

Sam and I carved out an afternoon for a visit to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, which has changed so much from my days there. We got an individual tour and felt like VIPs, and he was thrilled to learn there is a Chick-Fil-A in the Student Union. Now he’s anxious to see more universities in person. Big decisions for this kid in the coming year!

It must be exhausting for everyone when we are back, with all the crowds, cooking, and miles spent driving back and forth on country roads. They stay up way later than normal, even though their alarms still chime mighty early. They loan us their cars and give us every spare minute of their time, for which we are eternally grateful.

It was great to be home again!

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