family, holidays, pregnancy, vacation

To Be With Family Again

Was needed. long overdue. refreshing. sweet. made of happy times.

Two weeks ago I flew home for my baby sister’s college graduation. I actually cried when I saw the green grass at the Pittsburgh airport. I’m sure the tears came more from my anticipation of seeing my mom again and from my tired pregnant state, but I cried when I saw the grass nonetheless. It was all I could do to soak in the greenness of the hills, trees, fields, and farms of West Virginia.

My mom picked me up from the airport sporting her red Grandma To Be t-shirt. I would’ve been disappointed had she not shown it off for me. Mom and a good friend from home and I stopped at Cracker Barrel for a quick supper before driving the 2 hours to good ol’ Fairmont, WV. I hadn’t been home since Christmas 2008, so I took a minute to just soak in the rooms of Mom and Dad’s house. How fun to hang out with my parents and sister again!

The next morning Dad, Mom and I began the long 9 hour trek to Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. Growing up, we girls always shared time with Mom and Dad, so to have them to myself for most of a day was unique. When we finally arrived on campus, we had a mini reunion with Ruth Anna and Charis, my sister from Indiana. Then I was off to David and Tammy’s house for the night. It worked out perfectly that I could stay with my brother-in-law and his wife. Jon and Stephanie, 2 of Stephen’s siblings who attend BJU,  also stopped by for a late night visit!

The next morning, my best friend Rebekah Pringle picked me up for a breakfast at IHOP that was way too short for my liking! Rebekah is one of those friends that you know you will hold on to for the rest of your life. She teaches me by example, she knows me, she prays for me, she loves me no matter how far away I am.

At the graduation, I cried yet again. My hormones must have been working overtime, but I just couldn’t help myself when I saw the last of the Manka girls walk down the graduation aisle. It was hard for me to believe she had finished college, mostly because I didn’t get to be a part of her college career at all. Rebekah and I shared 2 years at school together, and Charis and I shared one. I totally missed out on Ruth Anna’s college experience altogether, but at least I made it for the big day! I’m so proud of her earning her history degree and going on to teach history and Spanish at a Christian school in Virginia Beach. She’s a sweetheart of a sister.

After a happy family celebration over lunch, we drove back to WV Saturday afternoon…and evening…and night…and early morning. Mother’s Day was extra special because I was with my mom and I was a mom for the first time. Pastor Stevenson’s sermon was all about the sanctity of life and how an unborn child develops in the womb. It was pretty incredible to sit there and think about the unborn treasure I have growing inside of me.

That afternoon we visited my adopted grandparents in the Veterans Hospital. Grandpa Bell had an infection in his knee that was keeping him there for several weeks. It was a quick visit, but a meaningful one.

What an efficient, but tiring trip! It was definitely worth it!


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