When I say a quick trip, I literally mean a quick trip. Because I had to be at work on Friday for our biannual professional development day, I was forced to take a later flight Friday night. I arrived in Atlanta, Georgia around 9:30 pm and we had a good hour plus drive to where she actually lives. (I’m told everything is within an hour of Atlanta.) Since we both worked that day (and poor Kels has been shoveling clay all week for a project at work), we both were completely wiped and ready for bed. I also tried to get a late afternoon flight home on Sunday in order to squeeze in as much time with Kelsey as possible, but even a 4:58 flight didn’t seem late enough with having to be to the airport early enough to make it through security and find my way to my gate. I was in Georgia for less than a mere 48 hours. It was totally worth it though.
Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to be a good aunt. With my sister being 10 years older than me, though, it was kind of hard to be the aunt I wanted to be because I was still growing up when she started having children. Growing up, my life with consumed by the turmoil’s of a teenager with an alcoholic mother and a dad who I knew loved me but felt very distant because he had his own life with my stepmom. I did the best I could attending every birthday, Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner that I could, but it still never felt like it was enough. I’ve always yearned for a close-knit family and I tried to be as close with my sister and her family as I could, but it still never seemed to turn out the way I hoped.
I imagined having the kids over for sleepovers and watching movies and eating popcorn. I imagined being the cool aunt, the fun aunt. I hoped to be a friend they would call when they were in trouble or resisting their parent’s authority. Up until recently, I was so wrapped up in my own problems that I was never able to fully be a part of their lives as I had wanted to be. I never was any of those things that I wanted to be and have carried guilt and regret with me because of it for many years.
To worsen matters, a few years ago I was taken in by my sister and her family to help me through a rough time. It was then that I learned that Kelsey thought that I didn’t like her. I was floored because I loved her dearly, but if I am honest I can say that I know why she may have felt that way. At that time, Kels was becoming her own person. She was in her early teens and she was developing a strong personality. At that point in my life, and even now, I have a hard time dealing with strong personalities. She had strong opinions and was never afraid to voice those opinions and I was having a hard time communicating and relating to her at then. But it was never, never that I didn’t love or like her.
All this to tell you that this is one of the reasons I felt so compelled to make sure this trip happen. I felt , too, it would be important to show Kelsey that she is important. With this being the first time she has been away from her home for such a long time (she’s been there since January), it would show her that she is important to me and to her family by making the time to visit her and taking interest in where her life is going and what that entails. I also believe that it is important to encourage her and support her in the path she feels God is leading her to take.
Ever since Kelsey was a little girl, I have always felt in my heart that she would be a missionary, as did many others. She is, now, living the life of a missionary with very strong convictions regarding how she is to live her life. To watch her grow, develop, become a woman, and become an important voice and example for the Kingdom of God is indescribable. I admire her strength as a person and her passion for God and service to His Kingdom.
These are all things I wanted to tell her while I was there, but I could not muster the strength to do so. I hope she knows how much I love her, support her and admire her. She is a true blessing to my life.
So now that I have shared most of my reasons for visiting my niece in Georgia, I should share with you what my visit entailed.
Saturday morning, we woke up and Kelsey made breakfast. She doesn’t know this, but I hate to cook so I gladly sat back and let her make me breakfast. Eggs, bacon, coffee, and crescent rolls. Scrumdiddly! We got ourselves together and she took me for a tour of her the place where she works and showed me the additional project she took on. (She is planting flowers on a steep hill that is nothing but clay. She is brave, but a very hard worker.) From there we headed to Amicalola Falls State Park. Georgia has gotten a lot of rain recently and that day was no exception. We still decided to venture out into the wilderness of the park regardless of the rain.
We had a nice walk down the path and climbed the steps that took us to the top of Amicalola Falls.
The falls were beautiful.
From the top of the falls looking out and down.
After we came down from the Falls, we headed back to grab some dinner at the Lanier Diner.
They had the most scrumdiddlyumtious looking desserts! (We got some to go.)
After dinner, we stopped at the redbox (http://www.redbox.com/ ) at Wal-Mart (She is truly a frugal chic! She learned it from her mom. I love that about her.) to grab a movie and headed back to her place and settled in for the night.
On Sunday, we got ourselves around and I packed up my things. We loaded the car and headed out for some shopping at the biggest mall in Georgia. We had lunch when we got there because neither of us had had breakfast and we had arrived before the stores had opened. We then perused the mall for a few hours. At that point, it was time for me to head to the airport.
We had some good conversations over the weekend. I think we both learned a few things about each other. I am grateful to have her in my life. She is an inspiration to me. And I hope she knows, truly, how much I love and cherish her.
P.S. Sweet Georgia Brown really has nothing to do with this story. The song is nostalgic for me and it has the word Georgia in the title. That’s all.