Remember my Mother's Day post, when I said I got to talk to my step-son and that it was worthy of a blog post? Well this is that post. It's part 2 of the Busiest Week Ever.
Robert and his son have not seen each other in 11 years, and we probably had not talked to him in 8 years. In late April, we got a letter from Pvt Derek Malone. He had joined the army and was in boot camp and infantry training. He was hoping for some relationship with his Dad and for answers on why he had left. Over the next few weeks, Robert and Derek wrote back and forth, and we talked online and on the phone with Derek's wife Angie and oohed and ahhhed over the pictures of their children~ we are grandparents! We shared photos, stories and tears. Robert offered to attend Derek's graduation and Derek said he'd love to have us there. We talked to Derek a few times on the phone, and he also sent me the sweetest Mother's Day card. Robert and I made the arrangements with the older kids to watch their younger siblings while we went to Georgia for the Turning Blue Ceremony and Graduation.
Wednesday morning after Robert put Sarah & William on the bus, we left for the airport. We were anxious to meet Angie and Chloe at the airport, since their flight was scheduled to arrive 30 minutes after ours. Chloe is 18 months old. Kaylee, their other little girl, is nearly 3, but was staying at home with Angie's sister. We found Angie and Chloe at the baggage claim; their flight had arrived early. There were a lot of hugs and teary eyes. Happy teary eyes. We took the shuttle for the rental car, and off we went to Columbus. It was as though Angie had always been a part of our family and the best part is~ she is thrilled to be a part of it!
We were upgraded to a suite at our hotel (if you are ever in Columbus Georgia, the Marriott on Front Street is awesome!), and had gotten an adjoining room for Angie and Chloe. Chloe had fun running from one room to another, and I had fun taking lots of pictures of our grandbaby! I was even more thrilled that it didn't take too long for her to warm up to me~ Papaw wasn't so bad either~ We stayed up late talking with Angie and making plans for the next day, for the Turning Blue Ceremony. We were all so excited!
Sweet Reunion~ Angie & Derek had been apart for 4 months!
Angie puts on his Blue Infantry Cord
Father & Son embrace after 11 long years
Robert, Derek, Angie & Chloe
A proud Dad and his Son
Happy to see his little girl
Such a happy couple
Smooches for the baby
Daddy's little girl
Grandma & her girl... I love her dimples!
Papaw's girl too
I love these two!
and new friends too! Angie & Derek, Travis & Amy, Nikki & Ryan
At our 3rd graduation of the week~
A proud day
there was this restaurant by our hotel near the Atlanta airport Friday night~
And then, before we knew it, Saturday morning came and it was time to go to the airport. That was tough because the past few days had been such a whirlwind, but we did manage a lot of laughter, loads of hugs, some deep heart-to-hearts, and I am very overjoyed that the piece that had been missing from our lives all these years is not only back, but with extra gifts~ a wonderful, beautiful daughter-in-law and 2 grandbabies. I loved spending time with Chloe and cannot wait to meet Kaylee. Robert & I are very proud of the man Derek has become. And forever grateful he wrote that letter in April. But this will be the last time I refer to him as step-son. He is family. He is our son.