Saturday, June 13, 2009

Making Memories

Friday, the last day G was with me, was bittersweet. He a such a fantastic day with my friend C and her boys, but at the end of the day, it was his time to leave my house. While he stayed with me, G typically went back to his mom’s on Thursday nights. But, this week he stayed an extra day. After having a great time with a friend of mine and her family at Stars and Strikes on Monday, we happily agreed to join the gang for a trip to Helen.

(of course I had to snap a picture of a chocolate shop)

As it so beautifully described by the convention bureau, Helen is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Chattahoochee River. This Northeast Georgia village has a rich history linked to the Cherokee Indians and Indian burial mounds as well as early settlers who arrived to mine for gold and cut virgin timber for a thriving lumber industry in the early 1900s. Helen is a re-creation of an alpine village complete with cobblestone alleys and old-world towers. [They've] got shopping, camping, both rustic and luxury mountain cabins, restaurants, bed and breakfast inns, mountains, theater, recreation, romantic getaways, beautiful scenery, family activities, waterfalls, museums, history, art, fishing, tubing, golf, and more. Something for every member of the family.

Festivals and special events include a hot air balloon race, Winefest, Volksmarch, Oktoberfest and Christmas parades, Fourth of July fireworks, and Bavarian Nights of Summer. From mid-September through October, Helen hosts the longest Oktoberfest in the South. Alpenfest offers entertainment during the Holiday season from Thanksgiving through December.
(click for their Calendar of Events)

But, let's face it. Helen is a great place for grown ups to visit. What was the carrot to get the kids to the quaint N. Georgia town? Tubing.

As if tubing wasn’t enough fun, how about a helicopter ride? This was an interesting outing for a girl who is afraid of heights. I think I took a breathe every so often.

Overall, the day was a great success. The only unfortunate thing was that time flew!

Words can’t express how much fun I had. C and I reflected that evening and we both looked at the day through the same glasses. Days like Friday created such wonderful memories for the kids. They will remember today like (a) we remember outings from when were small or (b) like we can’t remember/never had. The day was a culmination of the school year since September, how G has grown into a great young man, and (while he is not my own) my view of things through a different set of eyes. To think that he has been told, repeatedly since elementary school, so many hurtful things that he remembers so clearly, kills me. Any family would be lucky to have him as a member, with all his goofiness.
What did he think about the day? I am sure he didn’t go through the day with sappy thoughts like I had, but he thanked us for the opportunity to experience tubing and a helicopter ride. Overall, how did he feel about the day?

I have a heavy heart, now that he is gone. He is a special kid. I am honored he trusts me enough to talk with me about any and everything (even when I don't want to know). We ended our ride home with a fairly deep conversation as he filled in some details about his growing up I didn't know. He has truly lived a lifetime at 15. My response? Among other things I said, I told him I am glad he’s here, because if he wasn’t, I would never have met him. And, he has been a shining spot in my very rocky year. “Huh? How was that?” he asked. I proceeded to tell him that among other things, every morning he would enter the building, greet me with an ear to ear grin, offer me the “side” hug, and say good morning. Because most mornings were spent convincing myself I it was only 8 hours until the end of the day, G’s morning ritual reminded me about what is important and why I am in a great profession.

What now? I don't know what the next month will bring for him. But, I am off to Utah tomorrow morning, will not return until mid-July, so there is not much I can do at this point. My hope? Well...I just hope. Have a great summer, everyone!

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