Monday, December 19, 2011
We did it (with sighs of relief). After 8,000 miles, we made it to Atlanta, the last stop on this leg of our journey, where Great Grandma Jane and Great Grandpa Harold welcomed us with open arms. Here we collapsed into a puddle of extreme laziness. During our week and a half stay, Grandma and Grandpa kept trying to talk us into various excursions....museums, the zoo, etc, only to be met with the same response every time. "Nope we just want to hang out with you and relax." They graciously opened their home to us and we got to spend lots of time with them. Grandpa taught the boys how to play poker and solitaire. He drug the canoe up from the bushes and launched into their pool so the boys could paddle around. Grandma, a talented painter, sat and looked through Aaron's sketchbooks with him and praised him for paintings he painted on the side of a birdhouse. When I wasn't cleaning the camper van, doing laundry, or lazing about drinking tea, I would commandeer their kitchen, super-duper excited to cook and thrilled to have a fridge that would stay cold and fit anything I wanted to buy.
At the end of the week, family began to pour in for Grandpa's 88th birthday weekend-long celebration starting with a traditional Shabbat dinner Friday evening with immediate family. The blessings sung in Hebrew over the wine and bread were really beautiful. We felt very lucky for the boys to witness some of their heritage and to share in this tradition. On Saturday we celebrated at a nice restaurant where Grandma and Aunt Robin had organized a delicious three-course private dinner where we all ate too much. And on Sunday there was a lovely brunch at Grandma and Grandpa's house with forty extended family members including Grandpa's brother and sisters, nieces, nephews, and cousins. It was really fun to mingle with such an interesting and intelligent group of people, getting to know them better and photographing them whenever I had a chance.
So after a week and a half of relaxation interspersed with camper van cleaning and prep for storage (including an oil change in the parking lot of a Pep Boys, where a homeless man came up to Jason and the following conversation took place:
Homeless guy: Do you live in that camper van?
Jason: I sure do.
Homeless guy (sympathetically): I understand, I'm living under that bridge over there,
we dropped off Sylvia, tucked her under her brand-new camper van cover, and on December 6 boarded an airplane for home where we will celebrate the holidays with friends and family, play hockey, ski, and enjoy where we live until mid-February when we board a plane again to pick up where we left off.
Click here for photos.