October 5, 2006

What a welcome home!!!

When we finally landed in Atlanta I almost expected Dave to drop face first onto the floor and start kissing the carpet.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him how many more hoops we had to jump through before we would FINALLY make it to the final baggage claim.  Once we were there though we found Cathy and Abbie waiting for us.  Those were the two prettiest people I think I’ve ever seen (well, on this side of the world at least…)  I don’t think I let Cathy breathe for a solid minute.  And poor Abbie had to be getting so aggravated with me.  I kept wanting to hug her just one more time…  And when we were walking back to the car I nearly reached out and held her hand to make sure she made it through the crosswalk safely.  The fact that she’s nearly 22 didn’t matter in the least.  I had missed my baby girl!!

Of course, it wasn’t until I was threatening to hold her hand through the crosswalk that I saw the diamonds sparkling there.  Our sweet Abbie-Doo got engaged while we were gone!  She did tell us that she and Lance are planning to wait until they get out of college before they get married, and all I could think was “Thank God!  The girls should have hair by then – and won’t they be beautiful little flower girls?”  I’m not sure I even gave Abbie a choice in the matter.  My girls are going to be your flower girls, RIGHT?? 

When we got home Mom, Luke and Aunt Peg were there to greet us and had dinner ready, so we got our first real, home-cooked Southern meal in a month.  It was wonderful.  But I had barely finished swallowing when Mom started talking about getting me home.  She said she knew I wanted to get to my own house, sleep in my own bed, get unpacked… all that kind of stuff.  Mostly I was thinking “what’s the hurry?”  Unpacking was really not my idea of how I wanted to spend my first night home.  I thought we’d just spend a little time together, but oh well.  I kind of got my feelings hurt, but since my car was at my house that meant somebody had to take me home, and I hated for either Mom or Cathy to be stuck out too late – so I got in the car like they said.  I did think it was a little odd that both Mom and Cathy were taking me home.  Really – it’s not necessary, but okay.  Whatever.  It gave me a little while to talk and play with Luke on the ride, and that was so worth it.  But that was just the start…

The first thing I noticed when we got to the house was that someone had mowed the yard.  I was so excited about that I didn’t notice anything else – like the trimmed shrubbery or the fresh coat of red paint on the front door.  I did freak out just a little when I saw eyeballs staring back at me from the windows beside the front door.  Something was definitely up…

When we opened the door my best friends Angie and Cheryl were there and Aunt Peg came around the corner.   I don’t know how she beat us back to my house, but I have accused her for years of driving entirely too fast.  She definitely proved it tonight.  I was so thrilled!  My fabulous, adorable, WONDERFUL friends and family cleaned my house from top to bottom for me while I was gone.  I just knew all those stacks and stacks of clothes and gifts and shoes and toys that hadn’t made it on the trip with us were going to be waiting on me when I got back, but no.  Everything was gorgeous.  My kitchen was so clean and pretty I was almost afraid to be in there.  I should’ve definitely taken pictures.  It may never be that sparkly again!  The sweetest thing was the black and white portraits of the girls that Cheryl had printed and framed and hung in the living room.  It was the perfect finishing touch to my welcome home party.  Or so I thought…

Cheryl finally asked me if I wanted to see how sparkly things were upstairs.  Sure – more sparkly?  Sounds good to me!!  At the top of the stairs I noticed two things:  there was a framed black and white picture of me with the girls on the wall, with lots of signatures on the matting around it; and the door to the girls’ room was closed.  This was starting to feel kinda cool…

When Cathy opened the door to the girls’ room I couldn’t do anything but cry.  While I was gone, these wonderful people had created the most perfect little girls room I’ve ever seen.  It’s so much more than I had ever imagined.  I had kind of gotten to the point of just hoping I could throw a coat of paint on the walls and get the right beds moved into the room in the short time I had left before I would be bringing the girls home.  I couldn’t believe what they did to that room!

Uncle Rich went above and beyond!  He installed new floors in the room and put up bead board with a chair rail all the way around the room.  Wow.  No more ugly blue carpet and peeling pastel wall paper!  As Papa would say, that Rich is about as handy as a hip pocket.  To hear Angie tell it, Cathy and Cheryl were complete wrecks worrying about painting the furniture for the room -- but I love it.  (Which is exactly what Angie said would happen… I was just thrilled out of my mind that I didn’t have to do it!!)  Cathy, Cheryl, Angie, Mom, Aunt Peg, Abbie, Lance, Luke, Ivey, Ryan, Daniel, Ben, Brenda, Amber and Shane spent lots of their evenings and weekends working on that room and my house.  I can’t imagine a more perfect gift for me or my girls. 

I can’t do the room justice by trying to describe it, so I’m just going to post pictures and try to explain a little about the details.  Despite my bad pictures, I hope you can get a feel for the precious room my friends and family created for my girls. 

This is a picture of Maggie’s bed.  This bed came from my Mam-ma Maggie’s house.  It’s the bed I slept in at her house all the years I was growing up. 

This is a picture of Ryn’s bed.  This bed has been in our family for many years.  I believe it started with my cousin Suzanne, then it was Cathy’s, Dave’s, Kent’s, and Abbie’s.  Cathy and Cheryl did an amazing job painting this and then distressing it so it would match Maggie’s bed.

You can’t tell much about it, but this is the beginning of the toy collection in the girls’ room.  The bottom shelf is full of books.

I love the reading corner.  I don’t think you can see them, but there are wonderful Classic Pooh prints over the chair.  I’m looking forward to lots of Hand, Hand, Finger, Thumb story times in this corner.  (Dum ditty, dum ditty, dum, dum, dum!!)

One more angle on the room.  I wish you could see all the beautiful details that they added, like the precious stencil at the top of the walls.  Angie and Cathy were both blown away by how talented Cheryl is and how steady her hand is when she’s painting.  I knew that already, but I'm always tickled when other people see how amazing she is.  As they all are!!!  I’m just so touched by how much of each of their personalities I see and feel in this room.  These little girls have no idea how loved they are and how special all of these people are going to be to them!

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