My friend, Leah, and I live a few hours away from each other. Our sons, Jesse and Henry, are 11 days apart and her daughter, Evelyn, is 3 months younger than my Simon. Leah and I try to meet up midway once or twice a year to visit with each other. We've had picnics in Clarion, gone shopping in Grove City, visited an animal park in Pymatuning (I think this was a favorite for the boys)... It's never enough though. When the day is done and we part ways, it's very sad.
A couple months ago, Leah asked if I could bring the boys to stay at their house for a long weekend. How fun! We planned for the trip and as it approached I can't tell you who was more excited to go, Jesse or me. Staying at someone else's home is extremely far outside my comfort zone, but my desire to see Leah and the kids was greater than my anxiety, so the trip was on.
The weekend before last, I took Friday off work, packed the boys up in the truck and hit the road. The drive was very pleasant once the rain stopped - across the beautiful countryside of PA with some of the leaves already changing, through quaint towns with gorgeous old Victorian homes, across sparkling waterways and through rolling mountains. It went a lot faster than I anticipated and the boys slept most of the way. Even when they woke and I stopped to nurse Simon, they weren't antsy or fussy. It was a great success!
I was beyond excited to arrive at Leah's house. Seeing Evelyn so healthy and chubby was awesome (she suffered a cardiac arrest in July due to an undiagnosed birth defect and underwent open heart surgery here at Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh, so the last time I saw her she looked very different)!
The boys were a touch standoffish with each other, but they warmed quickly. Leah lives in one of those amazing Victorian homes... her third floor is a ballroom! Gorgeous! I'm sure it's a pain to clean and heat, but it's the kind of house I love, the kind you imagine what it was like to live in way back when it was full of servants and the formalities of the times.
We had lunch and caught up while the boys played. Once Leah's husband, Chris, got home from work we had homemade pizzas for dinner and then the boys got a bath before bed. They were a blast together, just like peas and carrots! Oh, how I wish we lived closer!
On Saturday Leah made an excellent breakfast of waffles and bacon (Jesse was in heaven!) and later we all headed to a local Johnny Appleseed festival. The park where it was held had a great playground where the boys ran and played and climbed and just had a rip-roaring good time! Chris and Leah took Jesse for a while so I could sit and nurse Simon in a quiet spot. What a gorgeous fall day it was, sitting on a bench amidst the activity of a festival, nursing my beautiful boy in the shade. It was a moment.
That evening after the boys played more outside for a while we had a ham Leah had made in the crockpot (I need to start doing this, it was exceptional) and relaxed and enjoyed time together. All too soon the weekend was coming to an end and with it our time to be together.
Sunday, after I packed up all our crap and Leah whipped up a batch of banana muffins (seriously, she's like Super Mom or something), it was time to go home. I was very teary. Who knows when we will see each other again? The kids will be bigger, different. I missed Leah as soon as I drove away. I wish I had a good friend like her who lived closer.
The nicest thing about the weekend, besides spending time with friends I don't see often enough, was how relaxed everything was. Leah's house is like my own - the adults adapt to the schedules of the children, discipline is gentle, everyone respects everyone else. It was nice to spend time in another laid back home.
I hope that we see each other again soon. Before the babies are no longer babies at least. Thanks again for a wonderful weekend, Leah and family!