Let’s wrap this trip up, yes? Day 7 had nothing exciting to report – just a travel day. We drove back to Chicago to take a flight to Kansas City to drive into Joplin, Missouri. And unlike the first part of our trip, the second part was all scheduled correctly, thankyouverymuch.
The next day was spent at my brother’s house. It rained all day long as they were prepping for their annual party. They call it Luke-a-palooza. If you are new to my blog, you may not know that 2 years ago on March 16th, my nephew Luke passed away. I always say he “passed away”, because it sounds less harsh than the reality. He committed suicide. At 14 years old.
It’s been a tough pill for the family to swallow. Especially if you knew Luke even a little bit. And if you know his parents at all, you will find it even more unbelievable. It came as a total shock to everyone. But instead of dwelling on the sadness of it all, or asking ourselves why? time and time again, his parents invite everyone who knew him to celebrate him. My brother and sister-in-law are amazing. Their strength has impressed us. And they’re honest and very real, deep grief has humbled us. They continually work to help others. I don’t know how I would face something like that, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t be accomplished nearly as gracefully.
So! Luke-a-palooza it is. Days 8 + 9: a weekend of drinking and bonfires and sharing stories and love with anyone who wants to join in. My brother only shaves twice a year – once on Luke’s birthday and once on Luke-a-palooza, so it’s fun to see the kids hack off that burly beard. It’s also a family reunion of sorts for me, seeing that so much of my extended family on my dad’s side moved from CA to MO awhile back. I get to see all the new babies and briefly catch up with as many aunts and uncles and cousins as I can. And my SIL’s side of the family is just as much fun to visit with. They really opened their hearts and homes to us over the last few years and I’m grateful for them.
I do have a confession… We ate pizza again. Just thought you should know.
Oh, and Stevie ended the trip with a busted lip and a loose tooth after losing a fight with a chair. Erf.
Oh oh oh! And I found 2 ticks on me. Those suckers are not easy to get off. Paul said it was like pulling velcro. Ew.
As with most vacations (if you can really call it that!) this one was over before we knew it. It’s bitter sweet to come home. I long to spend just one more day with family. Or have time for just one more sightseeing venture. Just one more hour to avoid the grind.
But to sleep in your own bed, and sit on your own couch, doing your own thing – without any ticks in sight – does feel good, even I have to admit that.