We've been away from our family for over a decade now. Although it seems like just yesterday we moved to New York City, it was many years ago. Just when I think I've gotten cozy up north and almost believe I could claim being a true-blooded Yankee, I go back home. And when I say home I mean the place where I grew up, where I was born and bred: The South--a.k.a. home of hot buttered biscuits made from scratch, college football, Crown Royals and Sandtraps by 10 a.m., rows of churches ready to welcome you with open arms, fried food, warm weather, hugs that include a double pat on the back and the friendliest people you've ever met. So when I went home for my Dad's family reunion for our tenth consecutive year, it made me a little homesick.
After deplaning our first stop was brunch with Grammy and Uncle Josh.
Selfishly, I always pick the same spot for brunch because I know they have delicious cheese grits and bacon. (Sorry honey. I fibbed when I said I thought it was on the way to the reunion.)
I made my mom and Josh wait to walk up to the car so I could catch Hunter's face when he saw them. I caught it and I realized that he misses them as much as I do.
We talked for a long time, laughed, caught up on what the kids were doing and then settled in for some yummy food.
(Emerson is determined to feed herself. She started at
a mere 10 months old.)
(Like uncle like nephew.)
The South--home of generous portions which we truly appreciate when it comes to chocolate-chip-whipped-cream-smothered pancakes with smiley faces.
(These two just couldn't get enough of each other which warmed my heart.)
After eating we headed outside for a little play time before we ventured out on our long road trip.
(It was obvious that my kids were from the north. They were
the only ones dressed in tights and long sleeves in 90 degree weather.)
(This picture frightens me.)
Before long it was time for goodbye kisses and hugs.
Insert three hour drive to destination yummy steaks, beautiful lakeside views, cold white wine and good times.
This was a house full of love and laughter.
(Emerson and Hunter loved being with their big cousins.)
Hunter was introduced to his first ring pop....
...and life vest.
Little Miss was right at home and loved all of the attention she got especially from LaLa.
After dinner the house was full of fun conversation,
(The non-blood related members of our family.
And they think they're the normal ones.)
(They kept falling off much to the delight of somebody.)
(Some more on tune that others. Then there's me who says
every song is my favorite yet I never can remember the words.)
fierce ping pong competitions,
and a beautiful sunset.
Late that night we closed a chapter on yet another annual Friday night family reunion tradition. As always, I went to bed with a huge smile on my face and drifted off giggling over events that transpired throughout the day, many of which will be forgotten but, the love I feel for my family and the place where I was raised will always be imbedded in my memory.
"When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses." -Joyce Brothers