We were here for the birth of Harrison on January 31 and Brooks' birthday on February 15. We helped with the kids for a couple of months until Kelly had surgery in April. A large benign (thankfully) tumor was removed from near her intestines and she had a few weeks before she could lift the kids. But all went well, she recovered quickly and we are now back on the road and doing our thing.
Some great things happened while we were here:
- We got to spend the holidays with our kids and their spouses. We cherish those times. Plus Adam and Melissa a three plus hours away in Fairfax so we have had a chance to see them a few times. We love it every time we can do that.
- We didn't stay with Jon and Kelly, but we were within 45 minutes of where they live. We went over to their place almost everyday and sometimes during the weekend. We had a few days where it didn't work out, but we were at their place a lot. We appreciate them including us in their lives and letting us help out. We know that its a privilege to be able to be involved in our kids lives and we know not everyone has it. We don't take it for granted, nor did we want to overstay our welcome. We found a happy medium.
- Its been great learning how to become grandparents. We have a lot more to learn but we are getting the hang of it. Its fun to be helpful. And nothing beats having the little one run full speed at you when he sees you yelling, "Paaappaaaa!" or "Maaammaaaa!". We thought we wanted to be 'Grandma' and 'Grandpa' but "Mama" and "Papa" suit us just fine.
- There's a lot to be said being near our kids. It is only 3.5 hours from Virginia Beach to Fairfax, so we are glad to make the drive up I-95 to see Adam and Melissa when we get the chance to do so. It was fun to be around a couple of weeks while they were remodeling their kitchen and to see them at birthdays and such. We found a favorite place at Bonefish (who would have thought?) and always enjoy seeing them and seeing what they are up to in their busy lives.
- One of the joys in the last couple of weeks has been to see some old friends and co-workers from our old life. We moved to Fairfax in 1992 and left in the Roadrunner in 2009. In those 17 years we made a number of close friends at church and work and we were able to see some of them during an Open House weekend. One friend was having an event for other friends who had moved away. We were able to see folks we hadn't seen in a long while. It was great!
- If we had to guess today, when the time comes to 'get off the road', we'd probably end up in Virginia Beach. In the last six months, we have had the opportunity to meet some people at church who are our age. Its been fun. We were at a get-together with a few other couples and each gave a short introduction of themselves. Almost everyone was there because of their grandkids! That was an eye-opener. Since that evening, its been easier to develop friendships, so that is nice.
- Another big benefit of hanging around VB for six months is how much we have been able to save. We have shelled out some big $$ over the past two years with medical bills, RV repairs and some hefty maintenance on our car. It's been great to finally get over the hump on the finances by not paying for diesel fuel or new repairs. We've averaged under $20/night campground fee since December. Also -- I was able to get a lot of hours of work-for-pay online during January-February.
- Another nice (and not insignificant) item we appreciate about being in this part of the country is Wawa coffee. We love the fact, we can do self-serve coffee (Hazlenut/French Vanilla blend please) almost everyday. We love Wawa! They also encourage customer feedback on their receipts. After filling it out (takes about 2 minutes), you get an email that has a coupon which is good for a soda or cup of coffee (any size) for the next week. Free! How good is that?
There are more things we loved about being in VB for the last few months. Watching Brooks grow and learn and developing a relationship with him is the best. He is one precious guy. Can't tell you how much of a huge blessing this little guy is. What a wonder.
And then there is Harrison! He is a cute little fella with the quickest little smile and big eyes. He's already rolled over and will probably be crawling by the time we see him next in October. Such a huggable little guy. So different from Brooks but he gives you the idea he's entirely up for the challenge.
One thing we wondered about after seeing Kelly and Jonathon was, "How did we do it?" It seems a lot tougher in our 60's than it did when when we had two kids 19 months apart. But we were in our 20's.... It's been great to see K & J and see how they adapt and adjust and move through parenting. They are doing an awesome job.
We had a nice dinner with everyone last night and said goodbye for now. Thankfully Brooks didn't yell, "Stop!" as he does sometimes when we say goodbye. It could have been tougher. But it is time. Time for them and for us.
Today we were up early, dumped the tanks, and were on the road by 6:30 AM. We ran into rain early, then about 9:30 it started to clear up. We headed for Richmond, turned toward Charlottesville and then down I-81 and the Shenandoah Valley. It was beautiful. Traffic wasn't too bad and we arrived at our stop at Fort Chiswell RV Park for the night.
Yes we are.
Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles.