What I want to remember this year’s annual small group retreat for is this: kids and dads scrambling up a waterfall fearlessly (for the most part); my littlest exploring the outdoors in her bare feet; stopping in the middle of nowhere to pan for gems; Emma Vance’s excitement when the gem mine owner took her tiny rock and squeezed it so hard that it “magically” popped into a giant crystal; a night spent belly-laughing with the ladies about girl stuff while the boys hot-tubbed on the porch below us; picking apples in the North Georgia mountains in the dead heat of the South in September; the madness of children running wild, four-wheeling, playing hide-and-seek and laughing; meals spent around a too-small table; time spent together with friends who are like family.
The reality is, though, that I will always remember this particular small group mountain weekend as the one where my mother died. It was wise for us to choose a distraction for the weekend, especially for the girls. However, there were a lot of tears and I was constantly running through the past few months’ events in my mind. I’m sure it will take time to cope with all of it. For this past weekend, though, I’m happy that my girls had the time of their lives and that there were moments of joy for Ryan and me.