Oh yeah! Happy Birthday, America!

I’m a real patriot, huh? Happy Birthday, America! ❤

For reasons I’m thankful for my freedom, see my other post from today! You know, the one I posted before I remembered that it’s Independence Day and I should probably post something about that!

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About time…

I decided, at the very last minute, that it was time for me to visit family back home in Florida. Truthfully, I’m going for my church (which is holding its revival services next week) and seeing my friends and family is really just a very large bonus. I can’t wait, because I haven’t seen most of them in over three years.

In 2010, my husband and I packed up the kids, packed up the pets, shoved as much of our stuff into our van as we could manage, and left Florida. We had a house waiting for us in Texas, but we’d only seen pictures and talked to the landlord over the phone, so…we were nervous. Things worked out just fine though, and I’m happy to say we have settled in quite nicely. Of course, we’re a long way from home, and we don’t see our family and friends as much as we’d like.

My mom-in-law visits once a year, and last year brought my husband’s sister and our six-year-old nephew with her. My mother, brothers, and my grandmother stayed with us for about six weeks shortly after our big move, but I haven’t seen them since they went home. My stepdad was here too, for a day or so. Then, I had the pleasure of hosting my (then) “out-of-control” younger brother while he attempted to get his life straight and when his mother (all of my siblings are half-siblings or step-siblings, but you’ll never hear me refer to them as such) dropped him off I had her and another brother visit…along with their friend. And of course, my brother (the one that was getting his life together) came back for a visit in May, and I got to meet his wife and their son, the coolest nephew in the world, Mr. Hunter Cole. So, yeah, we get visitors, but they’re rare.

Now, the thing you must understand is that my family is BIG. My mom and dad divorced when I was young, and each has remarried at least once. They only had me during their marriage, but since their remarriages, I’ve acquired…wait for it…five brothers. There are a few more running around that are honored with that title, but I’ll stick with the ones I have a blood or legal claim to for now. Also, on my dad’s side I have eleven (or twelve…been a while since I’ve had to count) first cousins, and on my mom’s side I have seven first cousins. Most of us are grown up now, so I have quite a few second cousins running around in Florida, some I’ve met and some I’m still waiting to meet. Oh, and two of my brothers recently became fathers and my brother-in-law and his wife had a baby girl, my first and only niece.

I did visit Florida for a day earlier this year. My grandmother was sick, and as I was walking out the door to go to the airport for my flight I got the call. She was gone. I was too late. But, I went anyway, knowing my mother would need me, even if I’d only planned to be there for the weekend. I got to Florida in the early hours of Saturday morning, left out again Sunday afternoon, so I wouldn’t call it a visit. It was more like assessing the situation to be sure my mother wasn’t going to lose her mind. By the way, she was fine, or at least as fine as one can be after losing a parent. Anyway, aside from my mom, stepdad and two brothers, I got to see one aunt, two uncles, two cousins (and one cousin’s spouse), my cousin’s one-year-old son, and my stepdad’s dad (we call him Pa…yeah, it’s pretty country and I’m fine with that). Could I have visited more of my family? Sure, but honestly I was devastated that I was too late to see my grandmother before she passed away, and I don’t remember much of the time I was there. I think I was in shock.

At any rate, I’m going to Florida tomorrow. When I see my father, it will be the first time I’ve seen him in over three years. It will be the first time in my life that I’ve ever seen him clean. My father suffered from drug addiction my entire life, so needless to say…I’m a bit nervous. It’s like meeting a new person. I’m not sure what to expect. Also, I’ll get to see some of my cousins that I haven’t seen since before we even thought of  moving to Texas, and I’m excited about that. Then, there’s the best friend. Oh, if I could only find the words to express how important this girl is to my well-being. She’s the one that keeps me sane which, trust me, I need in my life. AND, I’ll get to see my brother, Snowflake, and it will be the first time I’ve seen him since his band (N)ception (also here) started exploding on the Florida metal scene. I could go on and on about all the people I’ll get to see, but I’m sure you don’t care.

So, I might not be able to post any blogs over the next couple of weeks, but I plan to have at least two blog posts ready for you when I return. I’m absolutely bouncing off the walls with anticipation right now, ready to see my family and friends! I have so many babies to kiss and squeeze (I’ve met my niece for all of ten minutes in her whole life, and there’s a nephew I’ve only spent about three weeks with, and then there’s another nephew I haven’t even met, not to mention the babies some friends have had in my absence!) and I have brothers that need to remember what it’s like to have an older sister watching them like a hawk. And most importantly, I get to meet my dad. For the first time in my life, I get to meet the real man and not the man the substances showed me my whole life. I cannot tell you how much that means to me.

If you’re one that prays, keep me and my kids in those prayers. It’s a long trip and I’m making the drive alone. Hubby can’t come with me because of work. If you’re not the praying type, send us positive vibes or something. If you’re in Florida, we should meet up for coffee or something. I’m not above making new friends while I visit the old! Smile