November flew by quickly and before we knew it we had packed a lot in and it was gone.
Mom flew in early in the month and we all drove up the Baltimore to pick her up. Her flight was delayed and didn’t get in until around midnight. By that time all three boys were ready to sleep all the way home. JJ had the next day off of school so we didn’t have to worry about getting him on the bus, but Dean did still have to get up and go to work. He had more coffee than usual and made it through the day. Since we knew that Justin had surgery coming up and there are few days when JJ is home, we decided to look for a fishing hole.
Jeremy and JJ were quickly done fishing but Justin was more than glad to spend all afternoon catching and releasing.
On Friday of the same week, Justin was off for surgery on his foot. He was excited about the process, and even asked the doctor if he could see “his knives.”
We brought Justin home in a half cast and he spent the next few days lying on the couch pumped full of pain medication.
He soon graduated to a boot and crutches but couldn’t put any weight on his foot and continued to spend a lot of time on the couch.
As he began to heal and became more and more tired of the couch, we attempted more school work. We had several reading days where I read until I couldn’t read anymore and then assigned the boys large chunks of reading. All the while mom was busy around the house. She is a master of the laundry room and we never lacked for clean clothes while she was here.
Grandpa and Grandma came to visit for a day and we all enjoyed being together. It’s not very often that the boys get to be with all their grandparents at once so we had to capture the occasion in a picture.
As Justin continued to heal we settled into more of a routine. We would begin our day with school work, but would interrupt it with a game or two of rummikub. Mom began reading one of the boys’ books to them and worked steadily on the book until she left.
After the boys had finished their assigned book work for the day we would watch a documentary (well mom and the boys watched all of it and I lasted about halfway before having a little nap.) We learned about the Johnstown flood, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, and many heretofore unheard of places around the world. At least mom and the boys did, I learned less.
Sometime later in the day, JJ would work on his homework and have story time. Often while mom was reading, I would see the older boys stop what they were doing and listen in as well. Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around mom reading to us as a family on long winter evenings or as we traveled.
Mom and I took a day and went shopping – something that doesn’t happen very often. She and I had lunch with JJ at school one day, we had a rummikub tournament and Jeremy won. We attended a youth production of Annie, experienced “cold for January” weather, enjoyed a couple of meals out at local restaurants, got mom to share some of our family’s history with the boys and just kept adding to our memory banks.
Before we knew it, we were at the end of the month and it was Thanksgiving day. Mom made the pie crusts for me and we all worked together to make a meal that we all enjoyed. Before we ate, Dean asked everyone to pray a prayer of thanksgiving. We sneaked in a few more more games and more reading time in between packing.
Our month was coming to an end and it was time to take mom back to the airport. By this time Justin was able to put some weight on his foot, but still needed crutches. After getting mom checked in at the airport, we enjoyed a leisurely meal before saying good-bye and watching her pass through security. Our hearts were full and our eyes were leaky as we parted. It was a full and good month.