|Aunt Susan, in blue, helps the kids with their crafts. Jonah got to hang out with the older kids while Maeryn got the benefit of more one on one attention.|
We never planned to spend a lot of time in Georgia.
We'd been there. We'd seen it. And there just wasn't a whole lot we wanted to do... especially after we drove all over Jekyll Island and realized that besides the sea turtle center it's really just a bunch of yuppidy golf courses and barren shores in a wealthy snow bird neighborhood. (Not that we have anything against wealthy snow birds...)
Our real reason for stopping here at all was the hope that we might see Michael's Uncle Dean and Aunt Susan at some point along the way.
We called them on our arrival, but they didn't call us back.
Dean and Susan are both teachers, and this is a hectic time of year, so we figured they were just too busy to hang out...
But just in case they missed our call or changed their phone number, we called Michael's grandmother and asked her for their most recent digits.
Ah - no more land line. Cell phones only. And so we called Aunt Susan.
They were busy.
Uncle Dean is the choir director at church and they were prepping for the annual cantata. Aunt Susan is in charge of the children's Christmas pageant. These things on top of teaching a the local public school (Dean is the head of the fine arts department and also the theatre teacher, Susan is an English teacher - yeah, you can't tell we're family at all)... Maybe it's not going to work out this time?
"No, no, you guys should come. We'll do dessert or something after choir practice. I'm doing a craft thing for the kids. Your kids should come!"
And so we did.
We had a blast!
The kids observed Christmas Pageant rehearsal and then joined in with the cast to make a cool craft out of puzzle pieces, paints, and glue, then played a rousing game of cops and robbers on the church grounds. Many of the kids were waiting after craft time for their parents to finish with choir practice, so Michael joined in the game while supervising the rumpus. I took advantage and sat in the Sunday School building taking in the beautiful, beautiful silence (amidst the occasional scream of defeat or glory from outside).
Choir practice ended later than expected (not a surprise - tis the Season), but we were all still up for dessert.
Applebees was one of the few places still open.
Chocolate fudge brownies and ice cream all around (chicken fingers and fries for Jonah types).
We had great conversation about students and education and the arts and the future of all of those things over our plates and bowls.
So nice to reconnect with family and to conspire with like minds.
I felt a little lump in my throat as we hugged and said our goodbyes.
We weren't in Georgia for much longer. The purpose had been served.