the last time we were in oklahoma visiting my mum’s family, liam was barely two weeks old and still either constantly at my breast or curled up tight like a ball in my arms. this time around, he was an entirely different person. adventurous, independent, wild, loud (cannot stress enough just how loud this little boy can be) — not to mention over two times taller and about five and a half times heavier than he had been before. there were far too many nooks and crannies of great grandma’s house to explore, and far too many square inches of grass in her backyard to cover, to slow down and rest and, y’know, really take advantage of our incredibly rare vacation time.
aaron, king of nodding off at the wheel, somehow managed to get us there in one piece without sliding off the road into a ditch or bumping into the back of another car. we spent just about every minute in (great) grandma’s sunroom. showed aaron and liam my favourite parts of the house. admired the family heirlooms. talked ancestry. listened to stories. touched a few keys on the piano. pointed out photographs of my mother in her youth. read books. made art. played outside in the dirt. gave a much-needed bubble bath. visited the local zoo. rented a red wagon. fed the ducks. spent a few dollars in the photobooth. visited with cousins. spent one last morning in (great) grandma’s garden. waved goodbye to her from the car as we pulled out of the drive — just like i did as a child, just like liam will do now — as she stood in the threshold of her front door — the towering, white columns of her estate-like home looking just as grand, just as awe-inspiring as i remember them from my childhood, when she seemed in every way a queen in her very own castle.
i don’t know when we’ll be back, but i do know we will, and it won’t be another four years before it happens.