As I said in my last blog about this trip, the ride down went better than I could have ever expected. I even bought Dramamine for Tommy just in case he had any trouble in the car, but I think he was the only one who rode with me who never needed it!
We took two cars, Bill and Spencer in one, and Beau, Mary Susannah, Angel-Leah, Luke, Tommy and I in the other one. We drove from 5 in the morning until we got to Knoxville after nine the first night. Then up in the morning around 8, and we arrived at our hotel in Virginia in the early afternoon. My mother and son Max got there just before we did, and daughter Rachael had arrived the day before. We were very tired, but very excited. I was a bit frazzled, and hardly realized son Gage had come to see us until he asked me for a hug. My mind was just overwhelmed with the 'getting there'.
We met up with Bill's sister and brother in law at a reception that evening. I was afraid I would be under-dressed, but I found I might have actually been more 'dressed' than a lot of people there! I don't get out much, I admit...
We got this picture of Bill and I, my mother, and nine of my ten children. I just love this:
After eating lots of really good little sandwiches, fruits and vegetables and desserts, we went wandering around the school. Gage took us to a room where there were two bins with his name on them. Gage has been published twice in the law review, which is a really, really big deal for a law student, and almost guarantees success in his career. He is in fact on his way to Japan, fully paid for, to write another paper this October, and will get an advanced degree there.
But for the moment, we were enjoying seeing bins where the footnotes from one of his article had been checked, word for word, for accuracy. That's how important these things are!
Several members of my goofy family enjoyed playing the paparazzi!
The next day was the big graduation! We arrived really early to claim 13 good seats:
Gage soon graduated with much fan fare and picture taking:
What a guy! He went through a lot to reach this goal, including returning to law school just days after major surgery, much to his mother's dismay. I had to actually make a trip to Virginia a couple of months later to make sure he was really okay. Which he was. Determination can do a lot!
We went to another reception with cookies and lemonade this time - it was pretty hot that day. Then we headed to Gage's apartment, where he and Rachael changed into more casual clothes and cooked up a storm for us!
The food was wonderful, even if they did catch the stove on fire.
The next day we shopped and ate some more:
Three of my four daughters, and my mother.
And that night Gage, Bill and I went out to an amazing restaurant, just the three of us.
The following day was our last, and we decided to visit the Frontier Museum. I absolutely LOVE this place. I could easily live here. Rachael and Gage don't quite share my enthusiasm for it, but they did enjoy taking pictures of themselves messing with things:
I should sneak over to Rachael's blog and steal some of the pictures she and Gage took...Then again, maybe I will just direct you to her blog about this trip, and let you see for yourself!
I do admit I could not keep my hands off some things either, such as this tiny loom that I was so fascinated with:
More great pictures from Frontier Village Museum:
From here, we visited the gift shop, then headed to the parking lot to part ways: Rachael would spend another couple of days with Gage in Virginia, my mother and Max were going to Washington for the rest of the week, and Bill and I and the kids were heading for home. Bill and Spencer took off in Spencer's car, and were still in site when I realized Bill had the keys to my car. There was some frantic phone calling - neither of them answered their phone for a few anxious minutes, but we finally got them, and they came back with the keys, and we were soon off. We had decided to try and make it all the way home without stopping for the night, so from 3:30 that afternoon until noon the next day, we were in the car. Again, it wasn't so bad as I was afraid it might be. The kids were so wonderful, Beau and I took two and three hour shifts driving, and although there was a time or two changing seats that I felt pretty trembly, we got home safe and sound and very tired, and satisfied with a trip we will always remember!
And this mom was so very, very glad that she is afraid when she goes off on trips, she will die, and someone will come in and see her messy house and always remember her as a slob. My house was spotless thanks to my OCD, my animals all well cared for thanks to friend Kathy, and I had renewed energy to raise my family, thanks to a son who has exceeded expectations for a homeschooled boy!
Sigh...life is very good!!