This past weekend I traveled from Charlotte to Roanoke, the city that raised me. My sister, her husband, their girls and Cooper drove from Georgia, scooped me up and we made the journey up and through the mountains to my Aunt Jean's 75th (surprise) birthday party.
Side note: The Autumn leaves are turning; We drive on, as we had a thousand times before. Perhaps taking for granted the blinding yellow, red and orange flames torching the mountainsides around us.
It is truly an honor to God as Aunt Jean is (and has been) the matriarch of the family since my grandmother's passing. To put that into perspective, I was five.
We surprised her and I believe she enjoyed herself. Seeing family; immediate and extended, bought to the front memories that had escaped me. I specifically recalled a summer spent in DC where I cut my knee on an old hubcap while playing in an abandoned pick-up truck, it required nine stitches in all however the doctor told me to tell everyone nineteen. Summer on smash, literally.
I Am an introvert, this doesn't change when I'm around family. Also, there are a few sensory issues but I'm working on those. At one point while basking in my introverted 'sensoryness' (Brian, The Creator, sometimes I make words up.) I made the following observations...
There were more than a few to stand up and provide a well wish, share a story or acknowledge my Aunt. My mother stood out, certainly because of her words but more in how she delivered them; with strength, courage and wisdom.
I observed my cousins; Aunt Jean’s daughter’s who put the surprise together. Their mannerisms, facial expressions and the love they exude are a direct reflection of her love.
And yet I would be remiss if I refused to acknowledge the loss, pain and struggles our family has endured. In many ways it has shaped a spiritual bond; where the sound of a voice and the power of prayer calms our frenetic energy.
Home away from our home, I realize the value of peace.