It's funny how quickly you can fall into a routine without even being aware of it. We became accustomed to Grandma Sue announcing "good morning" each day with her joyful smile and settling in to work on her quilting project. Jalayna was the first one up every morning, waiting for her cousin Cam and present for reading stories every evening. Her constant gymnastics made us all feel more energetic and her giggle always made Cam laugh even harder.
With three days left to spend with Cam's Uncle John, cousin Jalayna and Grandma Sue, we tried to pack in lots of fun. Games were played Monday morning as Jalayna was determined to test out every board game in Cam's collection.
After an early lunch, we made our way to Saugatuck for our Dune Rides reservation. It's a 40-minute ride over the dunes and in the woods filled with a history lesson including, but not limited to: details about the white pines being cut down to re-build Chicago after the Chicago Fire in 1871 decimating the area, the lost city of Singapore, Michigan which is buried under the sand dunes, and the University of Michigan State planning group to ecologically repair the past damage for regrowth. It was fascinating to hear and the ride on the dune buggy does include a few thrills. Our driver was very knowledgeable and personable offering to take everyone's pictures. After a stop for frozen yogurt, we made our way back home for rest and relaxation.
That evening we headed out for a nice dinner. Everyone dressed up for our reservation at Bowdie's Chophouse. As long time residents of Grand Rapids, neither Cam nor his parents had ever been. It was a feast to remember. We ordered multiple side dishes as well as salads, steaks for the guys and fish for the ladies. The hostess was very sweet agreeing to take our family photo upon exiting.
Tuesday was set aside for beach time and we all migrated to the cottage in two vehicles with six people now in tow. Chris's brother, John, hadn't ever been to the lakeside home. The water was warm enough for swimming and beach time was relaxing. Grandma Sue, Oma and Opa stayed on the deck watching the activity and catching up. Layna discovered the walkie talkies and insisted she and her cousin Cam use them most of the afternoon. As an added bonus, we had a fish dinner at the Haroldson cottage and dessert before heading back to Grand Rapids.
Wednesday came too quickly, but our family wasn't heading to the airport until 7pm so we had the entire day together. We asked Jalayna if there was anything she wanted to do that we hadn't done yet and the playground was on her to-do's. Cam and his cousin and Jane headed over to the Cascade Park after lunch to check that one off the list. It was incredibly windy and although we thought we might blow away, we mostly just laughed about it.
Our new tradition is seeing how tall Grandma Sue and Jalayna are next to Cam while he is in standing mode. And we were able to capture a great pic of Chris and his brother, John. After a home-cooked meal, Cam's dad drove them to the airport.
We traveled northward again on Saturday eager to see Oma, Opa and our cousins. After a bit of beach time, we gathered together for the best summer dinner- burgers, hot dogs, brats, summer sausage, potato salad, veggies and more. We had a great time visiting with everyone! As we were leaving, an impending storm was making its way across the lake. The sky looked threatening and upon arrival back home in Grand Rapids, a deluge of rain seemed to sweep across our driveway and street just after we made it inside.
It was quite the storm that evening, but the Weatherford household was fast asleep after an exciting day.
After Chris took his mom, brother and niece to the airport, Cam and his mom were left alone in the very quiet house. Communicating is always key and expressing emotion unlocks and releases what we are feeling.
"Mom, I am very sad that they're gone."
Me too, Cam. I'm more sad than I thought I would be.
"I am really sad. I need some time alone."