Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Update from Charlotte

As I write today, I am sitting in a hotel lobby in Charlotte, North Carolina. It seems so strange and unfamiliar to be writing from here, but it's been so long since I've written and I wanted to let you know what's going on....

We left Ohio on Saturday for a family funeral. My cousin, Lynn, lost her husband unexpectedly last week and Ken and I came down for the services. It was a sad time, as Rickey was only 53 (he would have turned 54 tomorrow), and they have two boys, both still at home. Seth is a high school junior and Brice, who's 14, is autistic. Both services were beautiful and we were so glad we could be there with Lynn and her boys, as well as the rest of the family. (We came to Charlotte yesterday. Ken has a conference here.)

It has felt so strange to travel without Matthew. Of course, he's deep into his 5th week at Miami and could not come with us. Friends and family members, unaccustomed to seeing us without him, asked where he was. When we told them he was at school, they looked a little surprised and again asked where he was, as if we could and did just pick him up at our leisure (how I wish!). Ken and I thought it was really kind of comical; it showed how we weren't the only ones at a loss without our boy! Even relatives thought it strange to see us without him and couldn't imagine that we would leave him at college, apparently, while we traveled south.

I especially wish Matthew could be with us now. We are staying at a beautiful hotel within sight of Charlotte Motor Speedway. Ken even had the opportunity to ride around the Nascar track last night (and was especially impressed, it seemed, with the track's "banking," which was evidently all they say it is...) Matthew would have loved that and the golf course we're backed up to.... Funny, isn't it, how even though when our kids get older we still think of the things they love and love to do?

Even though we lived in this area of North Carolina and I sold real estate in Charlotte (as well as in Durham, when we lived there), it's changed so much since we lived here! Of course, that does seem like another lifetime ago... Ken and I are hoping to scout the area this evening, after his meetings are over. I'm not sure how far we'll get, but I have my eyes on a huge IKEA store I saw on the way in....

In the meantime, I am so grateful that hotels now have wireless internet - just like at home! A friend mentioned to me on the phone yesterday that a lot has changed in the last year. She mentioned that a year ago Matthew would have been home, but I would not have been free to travel with Ken like this. Fortunately, Ken doesn't travel much (I say fortunately, because he HATES it!). Writing about it today reminds me of 'Fortunately/Unfortunately,' a game we used to play with Matthew. It goes something like this:

Unfortunately, we had to come to Virginia for a funeral.
Fortunately, we were well enough to travel and were able to visit with family and old friends.
Unfortunately, Matthew was unable to come,
Fortunately, he is at Miami, which he loves.
Unfortunately, Ken had to come to Charlotte afterwards.
Fortunately, I was able to come with him.
Unfortunately, he's in meetings today (which is, after all, why we're here!)
Fortunately, I have a laptop and can travel with him.

If we look hard enough, we can find the fortunate in the unfortunate. Can you find a silver lining in whatever gray clouds hang above you in your 'sky' today? We all have the clouds - the challenge is to find the blessings also hidden there.

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