and then as quickly as they arrived … it was time for them to depart.

Ricky and Mateo and Marluce left early in the morning for the airport and their return trip to beautiful northern Virginia.  The paints and crafts were all back in their rightful place.  The house was too quiet.  Nobody asking for snacks.  Nobody asking to play in the water.  Nobody trying to talk their daddy into a little more screen time.  Just the quiet.

I do not accompany my kids to airports, if I can avoid it.  I am too emotional.  Watching them walk into the building and having them beyond my grasp is just too much.  So, I leave that to the other son or the husband.  Although, I am certain you wouldn’t have to look too close to see a tear in Jeffry’s eye as the glass doors of TIA closed behind them.

I remember the many times we would leave Grandma Tabor’s house for our return trip to Grand Junction, and we silently giggled at the fact that “uh oh.  Grandma is crying again”.  I think I can hear her voice in my ear asking “well, how do YOU like it?”

I don’t, Gram.  I don’t like it at all.

TIA sunrise

Virginia – Day 12

Waking up in Northern Virginia to five and one half inches of snow on the ground.  Brrrr.  Back in Arizona, this is our Springtime!  I had forgotten how the northeast cold can sting.  I heard the grandkids getting ready to play out in the snow.  Mateo and his Abuela, Gloria, made a snowman in the backyard and then safely transported it on a sled all the while gingerly maneuvering the gentle “hill”.  Once safely in place at the front of the house, the sled was removed and the little guy stood to greet all who passed by.

Since this was the beginning of Spring break, I was hoping to spend the day packing and playing with the grandkids.  Before I could engage them, they were packed up in the truck and whisked off to places unknown – probably to enjoy the day sledding or making snowballs.  I guess this would be the time to mention that not all was quiet on the Virginia front.  Ricky and Katia are in the beginnings of divorce proceedings.  My stay was not always welcome by my daughter in law.  There were biting comments and hurt feelings.  There had been several times over the past 14 years when a darker side had spewed ugly and mean words my way, but this was different.  This time there was a sort of finality.  I have never been  accustomed to a child screaming at a parent – no matter the age.  Being chastised and degraded by a child whom you have loved is not an easy thing to face.  And, frankly, it was never attempted in my childhood – let alone tolerated!  But, there it was.  And the sting of the words burned in a way that the icy weather never could.

I spent my last day working on some accounting issues and folding and picking up.  The curtains were open and the bright snow under the sun spilled a soul cleansing brightness over the room.

Rick picked me up after work and we headed to a home cooked meal graciously offered by Isabel and a welcome reprieve from the tension.  The children were entertaining, and after watching half of their beloved “the Voice”, they performed a dance routine for the grown-ups.

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Ricky and I returned to his house where he succumbed to sleep.  I had chosen to stay awake and work on my accounting.  We were leaving the house at 3 a.m. and I could sleep on the plane.  But not before venturing upstairs to kiss my grandkids goodnight and good-bye “until next time”.  Mateo is a philosophical child when it comes to good-byes and a tender one at heart.  Both of our eyes filled as we said our farewells and hugged and kissed and vowed that it would not be long before we spent time together again.  Marluce is my tough “I am a wanna be tomboy who loves to dress like a princess” mini-me (although I never wanted to be a tomboy!).  But her good-bye hugs are heartwarming and her words of wishing I did not have to leave her, are heartfelt.  Again with the tears and hugs and kisses and I had to tear myself away from her before I could not.

Virginia Day THREE

I have not felt as social in a very long time!  Up and ready – set – go!  To Mateo’s belated birthday party at Cyber Club!  11 a.m. until 1 pm and 15 kids are thrilled to be dancing to Wii games, playing Mario Bros. and challenging each other to air hockey.  Nice alternative for a 9 year old’s

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Mateo tries his hand at air hockey and is quite successful.

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Marluce and Abuela Gloria show off their dancing finesse.

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After blowing out the candle on his Angry Birds Cake,  he is officially NINE years old.

Playing and teamwork and comradery and laughter rated this party an A+ event.

2:30 pm and we are now attending party number 2 of the day.  Valeria is turning five years old and we have all been invited to her birthday blowout, complete with a puppet show,  DJ, Dancers, Goofy and Minnie and Mickey Mouse!  Very fun party; Valeria was adorable, Estevan was funny and Nydia, Carlos and Carolina were as charming as ever.  So nice to see their family again.

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Nydia, Carolina, Estevan, Valeria & Carlos

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Dancers and Bubbles and Games and Prizes!

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Ricky, Minnie, Marluce, Mateo, Mickey & Me

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Group photo with the mouses!

Oh, you think the day was over?  Au contraire!  To dinner with Ricky and the grand kids at Blue Ridge Grille.  The prime rib was phenomenal, Ricky said his steak was the same, Marluce enjoyed her chicken tenders and sautéed Portobello mushrooms while Mateo dined on his ala carte grilled cheese, sliced apples and milk!  Wonderful day ending with a relaxing dinner listening to grand kids talk about school and friends and parties.

Blue Ridge Grille

Virginia Day TWO

Ricky goes to work.  First day at his new job.

Katia goes to work.

Kids go to school.

I work on accounting and in early afternoon I get the bug to go outside – even though the air is still quite cold and crisp!  I see leaves.  I find a rake.  And three hours later, I find myself finished.  Back inside for a nice hot shower and more accounting.  Ricky picks me up and then we retrieve the kids from Majest. Home so they can change and off we go to Wegmans for pizza and movie night.  Some light grocery shopping afterwards and returning home, we find Katia hard at work on the goody bags for Mateo’s belated birthday party on Saturday morning.  Mateo has made it somewhat of a tradition to be sick on his birthday of February 10th.  This year it was strep throat.  Not sure if he has ever actually celebrated his birthday ON his birthday! 2013-03-15 20.24.482013-03-15 20.24.57