We had exactly three days at home after Ohio before we jumped back in the car for our trip to Missouri. (I know Ru, I feel your pain)
(babies first selfie)
My brother also graduated college this semester and it was a BIG DEAL. My grandma flew in from Florida, my mom and aunt drove in from South Carolina and my dad and sisters were all there too. And of course the grandchildren/nieces and nephews. It was the first time my entire immediate family has been together in a very long time and we made use of every minute of quality time.
But backing up a minute…
We drove into Missouri mid-afternoon on Thursday and following tradition we swung by my sister Diana’s work to say hi. Next we stopped at Andy’s Frozen Custard for a pick-me-up. Finally we made our way up to my mom’s house for dinner with my sister Stephanie, her boys, my mom and my aunt.
We made a last minute decision to let my oldest nephew spend the night with us so we could catch up. This meant I got to take him to school on Friday, which also meant that we would be driving right by my favorite place, Hoeckele’s Bakery.
Taylor had field day on Friday so once the girls went down for naps in the afternoon I snuck out to join him. I got to spend two hours with Taylor playing jump rope, tug of war and eating concession stand candy. We had gorgeous weather all weekend in Missouri and it was glorious! After all that sugar at field day I decided to treat Tay to Sonic before taking him back to my dad’s with me.
Saturday was graduation day. We packed the car and headed to Columbia for the big event. William’s graduation wasn’t until 7pm at night so we started the afternoon at his apartment. I made a sweet video/slideshow for him and he opened his gifts.
We headed out into the bright beautiful day to take family photos. (Are you ready for an overload of photos?)
Probably the best part of the day were the children all dressed up in their super hero outfits.
For Christmas this year my brother sent them each their own super hero shirt. We dressed them up with hair bows and hats and made William’s very own Justice League come to life. We ended up theming the whole day with superheroes and Will loved every bit of it.
After taking photos we made our way to Booche’s. It’s sort of a Billiards bar but they are known for their burgers. It’s the most unassuming burger you will ever meet, and yet it sets the bar pretty high. My dad went to high school with the owner and he managed to reserve a couple tables for us. We had beers and margaritas, burgers and hot dogs, and I brought a special super hero cake from Hoeckele’s for the occasion.
I made a last minute game-time decision to accompany my dad to the actual graduation ceremony. Originally I had planned to go with Alex and the girls and my sisters to the park and back to the hotel. I wasn’t sorry I went. Although it was long, it was great to spend time with my dad, see my brother cross the stage and head out for a drink with them after.
My mom also went to the graduation with my aunt and grandma and after William walked they headed home early to relieve the other adults of childcare duties. Soon my sisters and Alex met up with us at a pub. We all enjoyed a late night meal and drinks. It was just my dad and my siblings and my husband (and a handful of my brother’s friends) and we had such an amazing time together. We bounced to another bar and ended up shutting the place down. (I know, we are rockstars!)
It was such an amazing night just hanging with my tribe. Being with them makes me feel like I belong. Even though we are all so different and live very different lives, there are so many similarities, and regardless, I just feel accepted, no matter what.
Sunday morning was all bitter, no sweet. Saying good bye to William was no fun. We had breakfast and packed and jumped back in the car to drive back to my dad’s. We still had a great night grilling with most of the family but I was sad Will couldn’t join us. The girls and Alex went to bed early to get ready for our big drive home Monday. We made it back in the evening and crashed. And just like that another road trip in the books. My kids are troopers. And so is Alex. And me.
I am so happy we could be there with my brother to celebrate together with all our family. I am so proud of this guy and excited to see what he chooses next.