Finally, Wednesday came. That meant Joshua and Caitlin would be coming that evening! How exciting! They would be the first to arrive. The weekend was about to begin. Lucky for me I had Thursday off! We would have time to do things together before I had to work again on Friday. We went to a movie, Dark Shadows! I had been looking forward to that since I first heard about it. It was great. We meandered around Rossville and Danville some, and rented more movies for the evening. We grilled a meatloaf for supper and settled in for the night.
Finally, at precisely 6:06 am we got a text for Alyssa, "5 miles!" is what it said. Willie and I got up and went downstairs. We both paced around, neither knowing what to do with ourselves. Willie went out on the porch several times, watching and waiting. I paced around the kitchen, deciding what to make for breakfast, just to keep myself from running down the street to meet their car.
Finally, they pulled into the drive. The car stopped and Willie and I raced to the door. Slowly, the very tired group emerged from the car. First Shane, then Alyssa and Valerie at the same time. And then Kahlen! Now, don't get me wrong, I was very excited to see all five of my kids, but they don't change over the months when we don't see them. Kahlen, she looks different every time! She grows, she learns more words, she has emerged from baby to toddler to almost a preschooler since we moved here. Her sense of humor has exploded. I can never wait to see her. Once out of the car I swooped her into my arms and neither of us had any intention of letting go.
That Friday at work seemed to be the planet where time stood still. Everything irritated me. I was angry that I had to be there selling pseudo ephedrine to itchy twitchy meth heads instead of being home with my family. After what seemed like forever, 9:00 pm finally came. I knew as I was driving home that Kahlen would likely be asleep when I got there, but that was ok, I'd get to spend time with the grown up kids that way.
As it turned out, Little Miss Kahlen had other ideas. I got home and opened the door. No sooner than I had walked in then a very exhausted Alyssa came down the stairs carrying and even more exhausted Kahlen. She had refused to go to sleep. Alyssa gave her to me, and she hung on tight. We got her talked into going to bed. I promised her that I would stay home with her for the next two days and until they had to leave Monday. She laid down and begrudgingly went to sleep.
The next morning Willie got up early and spent time with Kahlen watering flowers and feeding fish. We had another big breakfast and made sure Willie had Kahlen time before he had to go into work.
Shane was very patient and kind with her. He carried her as long as she wanted and encouraged her to get down and walk when she wanted to try. Soon she was down in the water marching around, and just as soon she was up in Daddy's arms again. He was very good at knowing when to encourage and when to scoop her up. What started out as a scary situation for her turned into a wonderful experience for her and Shane both.
On the way home, Kahlen rode with Josh, Caitlin and me. She had an Oreo cookie. Anyone who has ever given a two and a half year old an Oreo knows what a mess that makes. Kahlen looked at her Oreo covered hands. She looked up at me and announced proudly, "Nahma! I got Dirty!" Shane and I may succeed at our mission yet!
The evening was spent grilling hot dogs, brats, pineapple and asparagus. We ate and laughed and wished Willie was there, too. Kahlen and I made a cheesecake for our "Thanksgiving" meal for the next day. She helped me put in ingredients, and watched as the mixer swirled them together. Alyssa took pictures and stayed out in the kitchen watching her daughter grow up a little more. Some cheesecake ended up on the floor, some on Bazinga, some on Kahlen. Some of it even ended up in the pan. I got to give Kahlen her bath and bedtime snuck up on us.
After Kahlen was snug in bed, Valerie and I went to the store in Hoopston to get a few more things for our Sunday feast. We found all of our items and went home. We made pineapple salad, and Willie got home. His hours had gotten changed for Sunday, which meant he would be home earlier! We were all excited about that.
With bellies full, we all vegetated for a few hours while Kahlen and Caitlin put on a show for us. Kahlen was the princess in the grand regal robe, and Caitlin her dutiful servant. Kahlen ran through the house, with Caitlin keeping her robe up off the ground. "Bow down to me," Kahlen commanded. The house was full of laughter and energy. Even the creaks in the house seemed happier and younger.
Monday came and cars were packed. We all went to Penn Station for lunch. Having them leave from their seemed like it might be easier then watching them go down the road from the house. Kahlen started to pout a little as we went to the parking lot. I looked her in the eyes and told her I wanted her to be a good girl for Mommy and Daddy on the drive home. She said ok, and perked up a little. I told her Nahma and Tahpa would see her in about a week or so, and she perked up more. By the time she got in her car seat she was smiling and giggling. Leaving from the parking lot seemed to work. Made it easier on me and Willie, too.
We came home to an empty house. The quiet floating over us like a cloud of fog. Bazinga looked for everyone and was disappointed to find only Willie and me. We sat down on the couch and even the house seemed a little sadder.