Unfortunately, our dad lost a very close friend/distant relative late last week. It was sudden and took everyone by surprise. Originally we were not going to travel for the funeral. It was 500km from where we live and our mom is another 8 hours away in Durban! Our Ouma had surgery and needed 24/7 care so it was impossible for Ma to leave and attend with us. Therefore, minds made up, condolences sent, and hearts weighing heavy we continued on with our weekend.
Sunday morning comes, Brendon and Pa go fishing, they come home and now have decided they want to attend. Actually, all the boys want to go! Okay, I completely understand. The boys of the house must go, represent our family, and Shana and Lil Mister will remain behind and make arrangements for work and school…right? NOPE! Big fat, in your face, not ever going to happen NO! My husband refuses to go without me. It will be inappropriate for me not to attend. Wait…isn’t pregnancy and a toddler a good enough reason that I NEED to remain at home let alone the fact that I’m already -3 days leave at work!! After a few hours of debate and slight argument, I am rallied into going. It is 5pm Sunday night, I talk with work and explain I will not be back until Thursday and we are off to packing. And by “we” I mean, I’m packing and cleaning up while the boys watch TV….grr.
So there are a couple of upsides to this entire situation, I just only wish they’d been able to come about without missing more work at a vulnerable time and without the loss of a loved one. It brings me back to so many dark places in the roads that life travels. Life never ceases to amaze me in the merging of joy and sorrows. I look to the events that have cast shadows so deep that it seemed to black out the sun at times. It grieves my heart to see others struggling down a road so familiar to my past. I thank God that He has spared me for some part during these past 3 ½ years in South Africa. He has blessed my life in many ways and not forced me to face loss as I did back home in the States. I knew this could not last forever but I am thankful for the time of peace in my soul that I’ve been given.
So there we are, 9 am Monday morning, loaded into the bukkie and off for our 5 hour drive! I have to say that Lil Mister was EXTREMELY well behaved. I couldn’t believe it. The 3 hours it took us to get to the other side of Johannesburg he rode with Daddy and Oom Vincent in the back of the bukkie. He played, ate, and talked their ears off by pointing out EVERY truck, boat, and airplane that was seen. Not to mention the frequent screams at the sight of a cow or tractor! This was all very exciting and very jubilant and such resulted in the last 1 ½ of the drive to be nap time!
We arrive and meet up with Oom Quintin for the last leg of our journey and thus transfer Mommy, Daddy, Oom Vincent, and Liam into the car. This was a relief of a transition for Mommy. A blog on how against children riding in vehicles without being in the proper seating (i.e. carstools!) is enough for a week worth of posts. So we will leave it at the fact that this beginning 3 hour drive was Mommy’s BIGGEST point for not going. I obviously lost to the under concerned logic of the male dominance in my house…grr.
Lil Mister put up quite a battle at the newly appointed car stool. He has always ridden in it but the freedom of the fresh air and roaming plains of the bukkie had gotten into his little head. Now he assumed he was big enough to ride without it! Mommy resulted to the ‘crying it out’ method and Oom Vincent turned up the music. 30 minutes later….pure bliss. SILENCE (I kill you in my Achmed voice)! The final stretch from Johannesburg to Virginia resulted in sleep for Mommy, sleep for Lil Mister, and God only knows what conversations young adult males have while such wife sleeps in the backseat!
|I'm not the biggest fan of backseats!|
We arrived in Virginia and quite to my surprise this meant a lot of stops! Brendon was born in Welkom which is basically right next door and Quintin in Virginia. I saw just about every house they lived in while they were there. Hubby was thrilled to point out his primary and high schools and where he ran for sports! I heard stories about the damage 3 brothers can cause in a town and met multiple family friends over the years! Despite my exhaustion at being in a car for this long at 28 weeks, I was delighted that Hubby dearest was finally able to show me his roots! I know it meant a lot to him!
|He always manages to have a good time!|
Yet, I was shocked at what I saw in the Free State! I had heard many rumors about how dry, boring, plain, and flat it was therefore I wasn’t prepared for the homesickness it would bring to my heart! That’s right, I said it! This place had me longing for the plains of dear old Illinois! The land looked so much like it does back home. Yes there are differences such as the Meer cats we saw, but overall it was just like being home. Farm land. Not citrus and grapes but genuine old school farms with the cows wandering in their part grazing and the little farm house set up on a hill! My heart cried out with pain and joy!
|Say what you want but I think it is beautiful!!|
The next couple of days were busy with meeting people, attending the funeral and driving through to Bloemfontein where I finally met Pa’s side of the family! More on that later……