Ah, yes! Home, sweet home!
We really did have a lovely time in Myrtle Beach for my dad's 60th birthday, where we also celebrated my aunt's birthday (yesterday) and Big Girl's birthday (today). We went to Dixie Stampede, where my girls got to show off how well they can chase chickens and my father got to show off his horse-shoe tossing skills - with toilet seats. We got to see Dad's older brother, who now lives in Wilmington, NC, and my sister and her family - hard-working husband included! - were able to join us for the entire week. Her husband watched one morning as their three-year-old dynamo ran in figure eights through our unit (through our bedroom and bath, back into the kitchen, into the second bedroom, through the bathroom connected to it, through the third bedroom, back to the kitchen/living room area, back into bedroom #1...etc.) and asked, "When does she slow down?" Little Sis answered him, "She doesn't slow down until she is asleep. Why do you think I'm insane when you get home??"
"Sign her up for soccer next season and let's burn off some of that energy!" was his response. (Middle Niece really does need some physical outlet!)
I managed to resist the urge to show off my girls to my doubting uncle, but they did fine on their own. ("A pleasure to be with," cooed my aunt as they were leaving.) Big Girl was excited to know that my godfather, the uncle in question, is older than her Pa Pa. If Pa Pa is as old as dirt, we said, then the uncle is...
"Jurasic Dirt!" cried Big Girl. (When I asked where she got that one, she said her usual line. "From my own head.")
My mom's sister and her husband, both devout Catholics now, loved our girls' devotion, too. The girls got to show off some of their schoolwork to grandparents and aunts and uncles (though not the doubting uncle), and were just plain wonderful.
Oh, and Mass! Good golly, if you are ever in North Myrtle Beach, be sure to go to Mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea! I was in tears throughout the Mass, and barely controlled myself enough to answer "Amen" at Communion! They used LATIN and GREEK! They used Gregorian Chant! The choir was in a loft above us and they chanted something truly beautiful as we received Communion, so that I didn't feel that my prayers were a competition to the music. The priest spoke on respect for human life (since it was Respect Life Sunday), and he mentioned birth control, abortion, stem cell research and euthenasia!!! Holy Cow! Can I adopt this priest? Can we make exceptions for cloning here???
After Mass, I turned to Soccer Dad and said through tears, "That was all I wanted. Some Latin prayers, holy music, a tiny bit of chant. I don't need the Tridentine Mass or everything in Latin. I don't need everything to be Gregorian Chant and ancient. Just some of it. Just the old prayers."
I nearly stole the music aid paper thing to show to our music minister.
It is absolutely unbelievable how differently you can feel at a Mass when you have just a little bit of the ancient and holy around you. It makes you really understand that you are walking to Calvary and receiving the Lord of lords - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
So vacation is over, and we have no plans to go anywhere for months and months. I can just be my little Hobbit self and sit home and bake and get ready for Christmas. I think the next time we go anywhere will be for the March for Life, which we will probably attend as a family this year.
Thank You, Lord, for bringing us safely there and back.