At the beginning of April I packed up the kids and headed south. It was short notice, but I think it was the best thing I could've have done for us at the time. I look at the kids every day, even the really bad mommy days and think to myself, "I am so blessed to have these guys and watch them grow-up." I really feel like the trip was a way to surround myself with them constantly, out of our normal run-like-crazy days, just to be connected to the closest family we have left. One thing I thought on the way down was the further south we went the greener and prettier it became- like driving into a different season. The South has always been "home" in a way that I can't explain. My summers with my grandparents visiting family are my best memories. For this reason the sight of red dirt brings an almost painful rush of joy and tears to my eyes, knowing that my time south is precious.
This trip it was even more special...my first visit to Mississippi to see Jenny & her kids. Jenny is an absolute blessing to me and has been for several years (really, that long already?) and it was my first excursion down her way. And the added bonus was a visit with Denise & Keith, my second cousins one evening and a trip to the city cemetery to look up family markers.
Mississippi was nothing like I expected. I think I read too much...but as we crossed an unmarked state line (the only difference being the change in pavement, which was not for the better), I was pleasantly surprised by the lush green views that were rolling past the back roads we traveled on. Trees were in full bloom, some crops already planted and rural enough for everyone out to nod, tip their head or wave to us. We spent 2 wonderful afternoons playing at parks & a nature reserve, just letting the kids run. Jenny and I didn't get to talk any more than we do on a typical "Monday" night phone call, but it was enough to be in her calming presence for several hours.
We attempted, ahem, drove back toward Moulton to visit with Denise & Keith on Wednesday night and after an eventful 1 hour detour thanks to my phone's lacking GPS abilities in rural Alabama, made it in time for some delicious take-out BBQ. We all enjoyed hanging out at Denise's with them, just her sweet southern drawl makes me feel at home. And we brought home more canned pears from Keith and cucumbers pickled with red hots candy. We tried to take an alternate route home so we wouldn't be on the darkest of roads, but alas it was just not going our way. After our second serious detour of the night, we arrived back in Columbus, MS at our hotel at 4am. My only regret is not being able to see Jenny again before leaving the following morning. Lesson learned: Stay in Moulton with Denise for a few days straight, then closer to Jenny for a few days straight. No driving back and forth=more time with loved ones!
On our way home watching the season change slowly back from a lush, early Alabama summer to a dreary, not-quite spring of Kentucky I was thinking how my life has switched from one season to another and the timing of everything going on.
In more ways than one I can not wait for my summer to arrive! If it takes too long I may just pack up and drive until the red dirt starts creeping at the edges of the asphalt. God's timing it will be, but it was nice to see the glimpse of different season in myself and the reassurance of those that love me unconditionally.