Soon after the school year ended, the kids and I took our annual trip to California to visit family and go to Camp Widow. This was the fifth anniversary of Camp Widow, and Soaring Spirits went all out for the milestone. I even was asked to lead a workshop entitled, “Hindsight is 20/20 – Lessons We’ve Learned the Hard Way.” I still giggle when I think about the many reasons why Michele Neff Hernandez chose me for that one!
We flew into San Diego the Tuesday before and I am THRILLED to report that there was nothing to report from that trip out. The flights were uneventful for once – no drama of any kind! We hung out with Ginny and Roy (Matt’s parents) who drove from Arizona, and we all stayed at Matt’s brother Greg’s house. It’s always fun getting together with the Rows!
Since my workshop was one of the first ones taking place early Friday morning, I decided it probably would be best to get to the hotel Thursday night, and after seeing posts on Facebook from my widda peeps all beginning to arrive, I was even more anxious to get there. My buddies Candice and Jodi let me bunk with them in their hotel room – bless them! Much better than trying to commute first thing Friday morning from my brother-in-law’s, and WAY more fun!
The workshop was a group discussion about some of the things we’ve learned during our widow journey that we’ve gained some life lessons from. Of course, I had plenty of humorous examples to provide to get the ball rolling, and it ended up more like a stand-up comedy routine. It made me feel good to make these hurting people laugh, but no one was willing to embarrass themselves quite as much as I did and disclose some of their not-so-shining moments (by the way, there are no mistakes – just opportunities for growth). Slowly, some of them started opening up a bit. Laughter, tears, camaraderie– exactly what Camp is all about. I just hope the people in the group got half as much out of it as I did. I’m really excited to be leading another workshop next year - TBA!
That weekend (which I was able to extend to Monday, thanks to my awesome in-laws taking care of the kids) was (and is always) so therapeutic. I used that opportunity to really connect with a lot of people – friends I haven’t seen in a long time, made new friends, offered support and love, and just relax. I ate a TON of ceviche at the hotel- just couldn’t get enough of it, and I’m still craving it! I may have found a recipe for that particular kind, so I’m going to have to try it out very soon. I haven’t had much of a chance to breathe since we got back from California, let alone make ceviche – I’ll get to that in a bit…
The day after getting back from Camp, the kids and I took a road trip up to LA and met my brother, Paul and Elise, Claire and Sammy at the beach (poor Henry was sick and couldn’t go). It was scorching hot the whole time we were in CA, and a perfect time to hit the beach! The kids and I stayed with my brother that night, hung out most of the next day with him, then headed back to San Diego. Celebrated the 4th of July, then had a 50th birthday celebration for my brother-in-law Greg. More family came out for the occasion, including my brother and his son, Daniel.
Swam at the neighbor’s pool a bunch and the kids got to play with their cousins and the neighbor’s kids, and just had a blast.
Got a call from my sister while we were away that my mom had fallen and broke her wrist…
Between my mom’s health problems, her broken wrist, and all the issues and surgeries my dad (who lives in Syracuse) has had with his eyes (three eye surgeries in a matter of about two months), my brother decided that he was coming out so he could give our parents some hugs.
The same day the kids and I got back into Buffalo, my brother arrived in Syracuse.
Got up the next morning looking so forward to a cup of my own coffee, and when I opened up the fridge to get my French vanilla cream, discovered that the refrigerator was dark, warm and stinky. It must have bit the dust about a week before we returned (we were gone for two).
I needed to do some grocery shopping for my mom since between her wrist and cataracts, hasn’t been able to drive. I also needed to find a new refrigerator for us. Boy did I hate having to throw out all that food…
The next day, the kids and I packed it up again for an overnight trip to Syracuse to visit with my dad, his wife, my sister and brother, and then we brought Bryan back to Buffalo with us. The day we returned, Jacob had a double-header, so while he was at the diamonds with the kids, I grocery shopped for us. I was really hoping to be done before the end of the last game… They won both!! Championships were next!!
Had an impromptu party with friends/neighbors, my brother, and my nephew Michael even drove out from Rochester for it. We manage to squeeze a whole lot out of a short period of time.