Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday entry where gratitude gets expressed to start the week off on a positive note, which for today is for my sister’s recent visit to my home and also for a florist named Tom’s Events and Flowers.
I don’t get to see my sister Laura all that often. In fact, I consider myself lucky if I get to see her once a year, as she’s most definitely quite overwhelmed raising three kids and running a homemade cupcake and ice cream shop with her husband in Summerville, South Carolina. Laura is the only blood-related family I have left and I honestly wish I got far more time to spend with her. Needless to say, I was extremely excited when she made some time to come see me for the first few days of May, of which seemed to fly by so darn fast. But, isn’t that always the case when you spend time with a loved one?
Upon her flight arrival in Detroit, we went to a Starbucks in Troy, Michigan, while we waited for her favorite restaurant to open, The Melting Pot, that I was taking her to for her upcoming birthday, which is an age I know she doesn’t want me to mention! 🙂 Anyway, If I could somehow relive any part of her visit, it would most certainly be our coffee hour and subsequent fondue lunch. Because for those few hours, I was grateful to see Laura totally de-stress, open up, laugh, and feel truly appreciated, things she rarely seems to experience at home. We really had a great time sipping on our coffees and dining through a four-course meal, which included a truly amazing cheddar fondue to start and a dark chocolate fondue to finish. Later that day we also drove to a local Dave and Busters where we spent a good while playing a number of games where she won me a bunch of tickets to add to my growing stockpile. Watching her enjoy herself at a number of those game machines was a big blessing, mostly because I know if she was there with her family, her focus would be on trying to make them happy and not herself. You see, that’s my sister, always putting everyone else first and sacrificing her own happiness in the process, which is why my only goal of her visit, was to make sure she got to put herself first for once.
On her second day here, Laura awoke feeling a good bit of generalized anxiety, but upon getting out of the house and dining at a local favorite for lunch, a place called Grumpy’s, she began to feel much better. After raving about her triple grilled cheese that was filled with spinach and getting herself a free cookie as well, something you receive on your first visit ever to Grumpy’s, we headed off to the Toledo Zoo. My sister loves going to zoo’s no matter what town or city she’s in, so I was thankful the steady days of rain we had been having took a short break for us to get a few hours in there. I think it’s important for every single human being to get in touch with their inner child, and the zoo is absolutely one of those places where Laura’s comes out. There, I got to see her be fascinated with the sloth bear pacing its den, the jellyfish getting fed for lunch in the aquarium building, the one-and-a-half-year-old gorilla who kept banging on the glass and doing silly things, a good number of animals like the lemurs, monkeys, and meerkats who all were entranced by my golf umbrella each time I swung it up in the air and pointed it at them, at the walruses who kept kissing each other, and the lazy big bear who suddenly jumped into its huge water bowl and gave itself a bath. The highlight for her though was seeing the giraffes, as that is her favorite animal, and it was really nice seeing her smile from ear to ear as she viewed them. After leaving the zoo, I took her on a drive to a place called Crane Creek, a park my partner Chris and I often drive through. There, she enjoyed seeing a bald eagle and a number of other wildlife before we headed home to have a meal she was looking forward to, that being a tamale casserole Chris prepared from a family recipe. We finished the evening off playing a game of Trivial Pursuit 80’s edition, although I think that part ended up being a wee more stressful than de-stressing for her!
On my sister’s final day here, I could tell she was struggling to remain present, as she began to mentally prepare herself to head home the next morning. In light of that, we stayed home for most of the day and watched a movie, “Unsane”, which appeared to take her mind off her worries for a bit. Later that evening, after Chris got off of work, we drove her to the Motor City Casino, something she had really wanted to go do. There, we dined on the huge buffet first, which I know she liked a lot, and then played a few slot machines before heading home. I had really hoped she would have won, but she had fun nevertheless.
When I dropped my sister off at the airport the next day, she thanked me for how hard I tried to make the trip about her and said that I, at least, hadn’t added any stress onto her plate. I was so thankful to hear that because in my not too distant past, I usually made her trips so extremely stressful due to active addictions and selfishness. Maybe that’s why she called me up from the airport in Summerville after landing and was in tears, obviously missing the last few days where she just got to be herself for once. Hearing those tears made me want to do something nice for her, as she resumed her life back home. Being close to noon on a Saturday, I began calling one florist after another, hoping one of them would take my order and deliver my sister an arrangement of flowers that day. Thankfully, one came through, a place called Tom’s Events and Flowers. The owner was super friendly and in three hours had a beautiful arrangement at my sister’s business, which I found out later absolutely lifted her spirits.
So yes, I’m quite grateful to have shared a few days with my sister Laura, and even more grateful that she, at least for a short period of time, got to experience what life can be like when she puts herself first for once, as she truly deserves that!
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson