The Earth is Lava

The Earth is Lava

Monkey still needed/wanted/was excited about her annual summer visit to Grandma Iowa’s house. I was very much looking forward to getting time with Mom, and Yessa is always glad to see Grandma and have an adventure. We also decided to take Mocha along to make sure Mom’s cats were fine with her, and vice versa.

Although excited, we were all also a little nervous. It’s only a 10 hour drive to Mom’s, and we generally stop 3-4 times, depending on weather, bladders, hunger, etc.

Our goal was to stop once for gas. I said I was considering all of the Earth as lava. As long as we didn’t get out of the van, we’d be fine.

That’s exactly how the trip went. We did stop for gas in a small town with a large gas station. I had to go in, but thanks to my SIL making a long drive a few days before, I had a list of ways to make the stop as easy and “clean” as possible.

Settled in and relaxing:

Mom always has her list of things for us to accomplish when we are together, and Yessa and Monkey helped make quick work of all of them.

Yessa providing tech help.

Mom’s cats and Mocha were pretty immediately comfortable with each other.

Mom’s cat “Freckles” looks so much like our old cat, “Nutmeg.”

“Princess” looking like just that:

Mocha keeps a watchful eye.

Mom had a birthday on our first full day there, and Yessa baked up a delicious cherry pie.

And we all sang to her thanks to the wonders of Zoom.

In addition to our regular game play, walks, delicious meals, and errands, we got in some fun local visits, too.

Aunt Garnett’s nursing home has stayed Covid-free, which is a tremendous task. We were glad to have a “through the looking-glass” visit with her.

It’s tough to tell, but she’s inside, on the left of the picture, masked, and talking to us on the cell phone being held by the Activities Director.

The extra work the nursing home staff are putting in with delivering meals to everyone’s rooms, helping people to still be engaged and active as possible, wheeling them up and down to the first floor to have the visits they are able to, and now facilitating masked, outdoor visits under a tent in the parking lot. We can all learn to live with Covid, while also caring for those we love who are vulnerable.

We also spent a quick visit with Cash, Cruz, and Alisha, which was a joy to all of us. Cash looks sporty in his new helmet, and he loved showing us how fast he can run on his trampoline.

And it gave me such joy to have Cruz show us his race car. I can only imagine how much my brother loves seeing his grandson racing in the sport that he used to race in.

Beginning Sprint Car:

Grown-up Sprint Car:

We also stopped at Dad and Pat’s grave. I don’t know if cemetery visits are a curiously Midwest or Iowa tradition, but it’s one I grew up with. I like knowing where my ancestors are buried. It’s a privilege I’m grateful for.

Our kids are always so good about listening to the stories Mom and I have to tell as we wander around.

“That’s Harold Dop. He was one of the kindest, most wonderful people you could ever meet.”

“That’s the Kling Family. My ‘Aunt’ Eva, ‘Aunt’ Reva’s sister, was a Kling.”

“My cousins who died as children are buried here.”

I’m just realizing family stories can be weird.

It was another in the wonderful visits we’ve had over the years. We’ll head back up in a couple weeks to bring Monkey and Mom and Mom’s two cats home with us for a visit.

Love in the time of Covid.