The boys and I are on day 4 of a 5 day vacation. It has been a nice vacation so far. We have been visiting with cousins we haven't seen in a few years and playing with cousins who we have only met once or twice before. It's great to be so near our family. If I could make the ideal life, I would live closer to my extended family but also live near my parents and brother. That isn't going to happen so I have to settle for just visiting them when I can. Which isn't nearly often enough.
We arrived in Searcy, Arkansas on Friday night and saw my grandmother. She is 91 years old and suffering from the beginning stages of alzhiemers but seemed to really enjoy seeing everyone. She didn't remember my children or recognize me or my brother on site but she did know our names and seemed to remember us when we returned to her apartment on Saturday. It was comforting to walk in and see her in the middle of doing her laundry and seeing how independent she still is. It is never easy watching relatives grow old but I am grateful for this chance to see her. M seemed to enjoy looking at her puzzle and was even close to putting a couple of pieces in. That kid is really gifted at puzzles and spacial things.
We attended my cousin's wedding Saturday night and saw cousins that we only see every few years. We really didn't have much time with them since the reception was very crowded and short but we did have fun seeing them for a little while. I sat looking at their children and was amazed at how old and grown up some of them looked.
Our next stop was in Bentonville, Arkansas to see cousin's from the other side of the family. We were blessed to be able to spend more time with them and really enjoyed just hanging out. We went to a pizza place called Fun City that was very similar to a Chuck E Cheese. We spent almost 2 hours there while the kids ran and played. It was great to give them that opportunity after almost 3 days of being forced to be quiet and not allowed to just run. The kids needed that break. We finished the day by swimming with our cousins at the hotel and then having a nice dinner together at Applebees. The kids were so tired that they fell asleep within 5 minutes of returning to the hotel.
We are now sitting in the hotel room watching TV and waiting for my other cousin to call. We are hoping to spend some time with her this morning before we leave for St. Louis late this afternoon. We will spend one more night swimming and then head home tomorrow. It has been a great vacation but one that was way to short. We will have to come back for another visit soon.
I gaze at my cousin's children and am amazed at how beautiful they are. I am saddened at how fast they grow up and how much of their lives we miss. I really wish we could live closer together and see each other more often but it is not possible. For now, I am just enjoying the time we can spend together.