Minnesota’s 2012/2013 winter was one of the worst ever, spilling into spring with a bizarre blizzard in May. While Huntsville, Alabama experienced colder than average temps as well, we knew it could be worse. And it was way worse in the Twin Cities.
Hearing about the horrible winter and spring from family served as a great reminder to my husband and me about why, after moving “back home” to Minneapolis for 18 months, we hauled our family back to Dixie for good in October 2009.
This week, though, we flew to Minnesota for a long overdue visit. It had been nearly three years since the girls (Serina, 8, and Sophia, 6) and I had traveled to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. David went last July to help my mom move down to Huntsville, where she now lives with us.
We knew the family reunions would be special, but we also hoped for much better weather than they endured for most of 2013. Thankfully, the weather transformed into near perfection almost immediately after we arrived, gracing us with clear skies, warm sunshine and light breezes.
David’s brother, Mike, picked us up from the airport and, after spending the night with him, Auntie Liza and their children, we all headed up to my sister-in-law’s lakefront home on Glenwood’s Lake Minnewaska. We relished the time spent with Auntie Diane, Uncle Mike, their other sister, Auntie Cheryl, and their families.
While time with David’s other brother, Uncle Jim, was short, we did manage to steal some quality time with him before he had to go to work and coach a Lynx game. Fortunately, the AlaPetes (how I differentiate us from all the MinnePetes in his family) hitched a ride to the game with Auntie Tika, Auntie Diane, and the girls’ cousin, Emma. What a ball! Huntsville has no NBA team, let alone WNBA. The Lynx beat the Atlanta Dream Tuesday, making a great event even better.
We got to spend a short, but cherished, chunk of time with my brother, Larry. The girls were going a million miles a minute, caught up in the excitement of hanging out with yet another fun-loving, long-lost uncle.
This trip was too brief and too last-minute to schedule time with long-lost friends, but I did manage to walk around Lake Harriet with two college buddies. Fabulous!
But the best part of this entire visit has been seeing Serina and Sophia light up as they reconnect with their cousins. They all share a mutual adoration for each that appears to grow with every outing, every meal, every laugh and every hug. We have taken the girls to parades, Como Park, the Mall of America and Lake Harriet, just a few of Minnesota’s countless attractions, locales and cultural treasures.
The past few days have helped me realize that no matter where we are or where our families are, we can’t allow “out of sight, out of mind” to take hold. The bonds our children are building with their cousins, aunts and uncles need to be nurtured even after we return to Huntsville.
Families are wonderful. It’s easy to forget how wonderful, whether they live across town or across the country. But making these magnificent Minnesota memories has been an awesome reminder.