Saturday, May 28, 2016

Another unplanned trip home

On May 14th, the world, and more specifically, my family, lost a great man. My Uncle Vance was the heart and soul of our Thanksgiving gatherings, which won't be the same without him. Even though I only ever saw him about three days a year at our family gathering, he affected my life deeply. As a teenager, I had the opportunity to go to the camp he was directing, and those are weeks I'll never forget. He was a hard-working man who loved his family, and loved people. He and my Aunt Aimee had been married for 55 years, and showed us what marriage should look like.

We'll miss his rough, work-hardened hands, his corny jokes, his puzzles, his willingness to organize Thanksgiving plans for us, his prayers, his singing, his hugs, his love for all of us.

Paul tells us not to grieve as those who have no hope. So we grieve, but with the hope that we'll see Uncle Vance again one day.

After some reflection, Benjamin decided to go with me so we could be with family at the service.

The flight attendants on the way there were extra nice to us, and even got us upgraded to business class. It made getting there a lot easier since we could sleep on the flight.

We decided to take advantage of being in the US to see both sets of grandparents. My mom drove us around all over the place - from Oklahoma to Alabama, and back to Texas to fly out.

We got to spend some good time with my family. My grandma continued on in her tradition of playing games with her grandkids and great-grandkids, and teaching us how to be good game-players.

My grandad showed Benjamin some rocks, minerals, and petrified wood, and taught him some things about them, before giving him some to take home.

Jet lag did eventually hit... he was chattering away while I was trying to squeeze in a little bit of work - and all of a sudden, he stopped talking. I looked over to find him out like a light!

Benjamin really enjoyed the farm in Alabama. My aunt let him drive her buggy, which is about as exciting as life can get when you're 10! He drove me around to visit the farm, and showed me the latest addition - the hogs.

After a week, it was time to get back to France, Frédéric, Noah, school, and work. The pilot on the way home let Benjamin sit in the cockpit and try things out after we landed.

We're deeply saddened at the reason for our trip, but we're so glad that we got to spend some extra time with family. Living overseas, you don't take these moments for granted.

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