See all those adorable kiddos on the couch with F & L?
The kids are Chase, Cole and Caroline and their mother is without question my oldest and dearest friend – and the fact that we hadn’t seen each other in over three years was just not a situation I could allow to continue. I had never even met her youngest child! So after a weekend visit in Roanoke, the kids and I jumped in the car once again and headed north for a long overdue visit.
I can’t even begin to tell you how happy it makes me that these 5 seem to get along just as well as their mothers. And when Chase introduced Fletcher and Lola as his cousins – and called me Aunt Ashley – well, it was enough to make me tear up a little.
We took a field trip into Washington D.C. one day, ate hot dogs on the Mall, rode the carousel, and popped into the Natural History and American History museums. Our Smithsonian adventure didn’t get off to the best start. Lola was tired, which didn’t help things, and when we turned the corner into the dinosaur room she kind of . . . . lost it. She was terrified. And I was so caught off guard I didn’t have a clue what to do. The skeletons are huge, and I guess I should have expected they would be scary – I mean, this is the little girl who was afraid of doorknobs and bathtubs not so very long ago. But there I was with a crowd of people behind us trying to enter the room and four other kids in tow who I knew wanted to see the dinos . . . and I just thought we could muscle through. I was wrong. It got so bad she literally crawled up my body and into my arms, then buried her head in my neck until I carried her out of the room. I thought we might have to leave DC right then and there. Lucky for all of us, Chase knew exactly what would make her feel better – the butterflies!
It was so sweet – especially given the fact that Chase is himself terrified of butterflies. Don’t let the mohawk fool you; this is one amazingly sweet kid. Fletcher clearly thinks he is hands down the coolest thing ever.
We also got the chance to have an all too brief visit with dear friends from Savannah who have just moved to DC. I am heartbroken to be losing them, but so happy to be able to connect them with Nicole.
I think the biggest surprise of the trip was just how fast Lola Gray and Cole hit it off. They disappeared together into the basement and spent hours planning a musical surprise for us (“It’s not a band” Cole told us over and over again!) They were thick as thieves. And somehow, I didn’t think it was much more than that until the morning we were leaving. I took the kids for a quick romp in the field while Caroline went down for her nap, and suggested that I get a photo of Lola and Cole together. She grabbed him by the hand, dragged him to the perfect spot, and then started trying to pose him appropriately. He, being a boy, would not cooperate. I think he must have sensed her intentions. Just look at her pose! Is that girl 5 or 15?? I could hardly believe my eyes!
I guess I was the only one who didn’t realize this was more than just friendship. Chase was obviously in on it – Lola never realized he had snuck up behind them and made a heart shape over their heads. I was laughing so hard I could hardly take the photo! When it was time to get in the car a half-hour later, Lola burst into tears like her heart was breaking. She was in the car and we were about to leave but she jumped back out, ran to Cole who was standing on the sidewalk and (still sobbing beyond the ability to speak) held out her hands to him in the shape of a heart. And sweet, quiet, silly Cole returned the gesture. My heart absolutely melted.
Days after our return to Savannah, Lola was out in front of our house with her friend Camille, drawing with chalk on the sidewalk. I came out of the house just in time to hear Lola saying “His name is Cole and I really love him . . . “
I’m pretty sure Cole’s mother and I had that conversation once upon a time – I just never expected it coming from the mouth of my 5 year old! Is it too early to start planning the wedding?
I will not let another 3 year go before we see this amazing family again.
Lola is not the only one who left a piece of her heart in northern Virginia.