Before we left for Washington DC, I had maps printed out for every one of our destinations so Kathryn and I would know where we were going. But Paul Burton encouraged me to use his GPS, since I would be in so many unfamiliar places. I did not know how sweet that little box could be! It was wonderful. After hitting the Baltimore-Washington Beltway I let the GPS guide me. A kindly voice told me every move to make and which of the six lanes I should be driving in. I started thinking about how many arguments this little box could eliminate. Hearing a little box say, "recalculating; make the next left" is not nearly as difficult to take as hearing a spouse exclaim, "I told you to turn left back there!" If I had known this little toy was this cool I would have asked for one for Christmas. It got us everywhere we needed to be and Kathryn and I had so much fun.
Our first event was the wedding of Ryan Kirkwood. He came into our lives because of HPS. We met his sister Heather Kirkwood first, by phone, when I was frantically trying to reach someone at the HPS Network who could tell our doctors how to keep Kathryn alive. Heather picked up the call and assured me that with the right treatment Kathryn could make a recovery. She put us in touch with the doctors at NIH who helped so much in that first crucial HPS attack. Her calm voice, and knowing how many surgeries she had survived, gave us just enough hope to keep us from becoming overwhelmed. Ryan and Heather both have HPS, and therefore there were many friends with HPS attending the wedding and we were able to meet and hug them at the reception. Many of them had helped us from a distance over the last two years. It was a joy to meet them all.
HPS Friends (L-R) Karen, Julie R, Sarah R, Dawn, Kathryn, and Elsie:
The wedding was wonderful, and so was the three layer German chocolate wedding cake. There were bright red roses everywhere on the tables, in the bouquets, and on the cake:
After the reception in Falls Church, we headed to Frederick, Maryland to spend the night with Oma. From the front doorstep to the fireplace in the back sitting room, the history of Oma's family can be found everywhere:
The pictures, china, cabinets, furnishings, and rugs all speak of days gone by. The charm and beauty was as interesting as Oma herself. She has raised her family, traveled the world, and still enjoys bird watching and entertaining. Visiting Oma was a lot like visiting a little school-girl friend. She has all the enthusiasm of a young girl, and it was plain to see how much she still enjoys "playing house:"
Oma even took Kathryn down to the cedar closet where the two of them tried on furs like little girls:
This morning, I woke up extra early to attend church with Oma while Kathryn slept in. All too soon we were pulling away from the curb while Oma stood on the sidewalk in front of her house waving her little white kerchief so Kathryn could see her to wave goodbye. I was teary-eyed watching her and I wanted so much so say, "Kathryn, let's go back!" But her grandchildren, Heather and Andrew, are due to arrive at her house tomorrow and fill the guest room once again.
Oma and Kathryn saying good-bye. Oma is wearing an authentic Scottish kilt:
Our drive from Frederick to I-81 was made easy once again by the trusty little GPS. In four hours we were back home. Paul and Qavah met us in the driveway. They were still dressed up for Sunday. Paul had even put a bow in Qavah's hair this morning before taking her to church. As of a few hours ago we are all unpacked and settled in for the night. There are memories that I treasure from this trip.
As Kathryn and I drove along we spoke of the wedding, the people we met, Heaven, the future, our dreams, and in the middle of the night we woke up in Oma's big guest bed to discuss how delicious her dinner had been, and how good it felt to sleep in a cool room under a big feather puff. I am so grateful for the people we were with, for Kathryn, and for the memories we made this weekend. Thank you Paul Burton for letting us play with your GPS toy, and thank you all for praying for us. The past few days were like a gift and we opened them with delight.