I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! My girls were up at 5:15am, so we had a LONG morning! After opening gifts (and once the sun finally came up), we loaded up for our annual Christmas morning visit to take the dogs to the beach. I'll share a few pictures of that later in the week, but today, I wanted to tell you about a special visit.
I've talked here about my Great Aunt Livy quite a bit. My last visit to her was in August for her 90th birthday. Since the annual birthday visit has grown from just being me, to being me and the girls and Benny, to now being me, the girls, Benny, and my sister, her husband and daughter AND my father, the August trip has gotten a bit hectic. As we were leaving in August, Aunt Livy quietly told me she missed spending time with me. We've always been each other's favorite! My birthday was earlier this month, and for the first time that I can ever remember, I did not receive a birthday card from Aunt Livy. I called her a few days after my birthday just to check on her, and as soon as she answered the phone, she said, "Oh! I'm so sorry I forgot your birthday!" I told her that was fine! I was just calling because I was worried about her! After that conversation, I started thinking about driving back to up to visit her for Christmas.
Even with the hectic pace that the holidays always bring, I still couldn't get that thought out of my head. So! Christmas afternoon about 2pm, I got in the car and drove up to North Georiga. She's in Rock Springs, about 20 minutes south of Chattanooga, Tennessee. I got up there about 9:30pm, and in dense fog, found a hotel. Yesterday morning, I called the nurses at her home (she's in an extended living facility), and told them that I was coming but wanted it to be a surprise. They said, "No problem! We'll make sure she's up and dressed!"
I told them I'd be there around 11am, and when I arrived one of the nurses greeted me at the door and said, "We have her all ready for you! We told her she had a surprise coming, but she thinks we were just trying to get her out of bed!" When I walked in, she was sitting next to the Christmas tree reading some mail, and I snuck up to her and said, "Merry Christmas!" I think if she hadn't had already been sitting down, she would have fallen down!
We spent about three hours together, talking and telling stories, and having a nice lunch in town, just the two of us. One of the things we talked about was my mom, both knowing the time of the year. Today is the 12th anniversary of her death. I know that the reason I am so close to my Aunt Livy is because my mom was so close to my Aunt Livy. I remember so many times with her growing up, and it was so special for the two of us to have this time together alone to share stories and, yes, share some tears.
It was a wonderful three hours, and worth every bit of the nearly-18-hour round-trip drive. I promised Benny I'd get back on the road by 2pm, so that I did. The drive back home took more than nine hours with all the day-after-Christmas traffic, but I'd get in the car and go back tomorrow if she needed me to. Every one needs an "Aunt Livy." I hope you have someone like that in your life.