Our Friday morning began on a high note but the day was definitely a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ll get to all of that in a minute, but let’s go in sequential order for the sake of organization.
Ryan, Chase and I had plans to spend the morning with my father-in-law and began our adventures at the Classic Car Museum. The last time we were all together, Greg had the idea to take Chase to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and since it was such a hit, we hoped the Classic Car Museum would be right up our car-lovin’ toddler’s alley as well. The museum is the second largest car museum in the United States and included lots of classic and modern-day fancy cars as well as cars owned by celebrities, including John Lennon, Katherine Hepburn and Paul McCartney.
Chase really, really wanted to hop in nearly every car to “drive” it but we did our best to distract him until a friendly docent offered to let Chase steer John Ringling’s Rolls Royce which absolutely made his day.
By the time we made our way through the museum, the morning rain had thankfully dissipated and we headed off to Jungle Gardens for our next adventure!
Ryan’s dad was kind enough to treat us to a fun afternoon at the local, family-owned nature park. The dreary weather ended up working in our favor because Jungle Gardens wasn’t too busy and even though it was quite humid, it wasn’t too hot. We had no trouble spending two hours wandering around the beautiful grounds while Chase explored and we looked at a handful of tropical birds and reptiles.
Chase was most enamored by the turtles but the flamingos were the most intriguing to me, Ryan and Greg! They were curious but cautious and even ate out of our hands with a little coaxing.
We said thank you and goodbye to Grandad a little after noon and headed back to my mother-in-law’s house for lunch and Chase’s nap. When we walked in the door, we could quickly tell something was not right and Diane told us that Ryan’s grandmother was in the emergency room at the hospital. We were all on edge as we awaited updates from Les who told us not to come until they had a room for Bubbee and a plan.
We eventually learned that Bubbee would need surgery which had all of us scared and praying. She is 91 years old and the spunkiest lady (a fighter for sure!) but has been facing a handful of serious health concerns for a while now so we hoped and prayed she would do well in surgery and that we would be able to hug her tight and surround her with love before and after her procedure.
With Chase in the mix, we decided the hospital wasn’t the best place for our toddler to be for a long period of time, so I stayed behind with him while everyone else spent the majority of the afternoon and early evening with Bubbee. I felt helpless away from Bubbee but did my best to clean and prepare some food to have on hand when everyone was ready to eat. I am so, so happy to report that Bubbee’s surgery went well and though I wasn’t able to see her after her surgery, we ran a batch of food over to the hospital in the early evening and I was able to hear the surgeon’s report after her surgery which was very positive.
Saturday was filled with hospital visits and more time with family as we spent time with Bubbee and tried to make the most of the final day of our visit. Les headed off to the hospital first thing in the morning and when he told us Bubbee was still sleeping, Ryan, Chase and I headed off to the gym to stay out of everyone’s hair since my mother-in-law had some people coming to the house to replace toilets and water heaters.
Our Saturday morning workout was actually my first workout of the week and I was absolutely craving a good sweat. I ended up following a super old workout I had saved to my phone from the old functional training whiteboard at the YMCA where I used to teach and train clients in Ocala, Florida.
I did three rounds of each set of three exercises before moving onto the next. Chase did really well in childcare and within and hour, the three of us were headed back to Diane’s house. Once we arrived back home, Ryan quickly headed back out to see his grandmother and dropped me and Chase off at a local park on his way over. (Bubbee was in the ICU for the first half of the day so we figured it would be best for Chase to see her once she moved out of the ICU in the early afternoon.)
Ryan’s mom had a small umbrella stroller on hand for us to use to walk back home from the park but once Chase saw me unload the new stroller out of the car, all he wanted to do was push it around the park.
We had a minor meltdown when Chase was clearly too tired and hot to keep on pushing the stroller but refused to be carried. I did my best to distract him and settle him down underneath some shade and once we ate some snacks and drank some water, Chase was much happier and finally ready to actually play at the park rather than do laps around it with his stroller. When it was time to leave, I tried to put Chase in the stroller and meltdown number two ensued, so I ended up carrying him half a mile home while pushing an empty stroller. Ya win some, ya lose some, right!? Aside from two meltdowns, we actually did have a nice afternoon at the park and had a good time playing together!
We made it home in time for lunch before Chase was ready for his nap. I hung out with my mother-in-law as Chase slept and soon Ryan joined us as Les left for the hospital again. (Diane’s visits to the hospital had to be limited, as she is still recovering from the surgery she had two weeks ago. Ryan’s poor family has been through a lot lately!) Once Chase was up from his nap and Bubbee was moved to another room and out of the ICU, Ryan, Chase and I headed off to see Bubbee and give her lots of love.
She lit up when we entered the room and was clearly thrilled to be able to see her great grandson and play trucks along her bedside with him.
Have you guys ever felt like you can almost feel the significance of certain moments in your life as you are living them? Moments where you feel almost overcome with a certain emotion? Watching Bubbee gaze at Chase and hide his truck under her blanket to make him giggle filled my heart with so much love. Watching the youngest and oldest members of our family play, smile and laugh together meant so much to me and I really hope it meant a lot to Bubbee, too.
We stayed at the hospital as long as we could until Chase was a bit restless and we had to say our goodbyes. We hugged Bubbee and told her how much we love her and how proud we are of the way she handled her surgery and her positive attitude. She seems to be doing better with every hour and every day that passes which is wonderful to see.
We didn’t have much time left in our day before dinner but figured Chase might want to run around a bit before heading home, so we made our way to a local park at the marina where Chase had a ball and we enjoyed the cool sea breezes. Ryan’s dad also met us at the park for a final bit of quality time with Grandad!
After our goodbyes, Ryan and I popped into the grocery store to pick up food for dinner for everyone before making our way back to Diane and Les’ house for a laidback dinner and some relaxation on the couch before bed.
Sunday was consumed by travel (we were SO happy to see Sadie again!!!), unpacking, grocery shopping and getting our lives back in order after our time away from home. Even though our visit to Sarasota was filled with some highs and lows, I’m so happy we were able to spend time with my in-law’s, especially during an emotional and stressful time. We always leave time with family saying we wish we lived closer, but I’m very grateful for the memories we make whenever we are able to visit!