Megan thanked me for that of course, and said, “That’s good, Mom…” (wink)
Hi! Welcome back to “Katie’s View,” where I’m blogging about my experiences of traveling to
by myself, to visit my daughter and grandson for a few days while my son-in-law
was out of town. If you missed Part 1, I’m providing the link for your
convenience, so that you can catch up: http://katiekolbergmemmel.blogspot.com/2016/10/oklahoma-travel-part-1.html Oklahoma
My flight arrived a few minutes early, and as I exited the plane, I received a text message from Megan that said she was waiting for me in her car. Wow! Each piece of my travel puzzle had fallen into place beautifully. Not to mention that from what I’d glimpsed from the
airport windows, the weather outside looked flawless. Rumor had it that Tulsa ’s temps were
dipping into the 40’s and lots of rain was expected. Looked like I’d chosen a
perfect week to escape – oops, I mean visit! Milwaukee
The airport is quite a bit smaller than
, and didn’t seem at all scary to me.
I think it has only two concourses, so there seemed to be very little chance of
me getting lost. Plus, it was very very clean. I did not feel at all scared to
come back in a few days for my return. Chicago
I made my way outside and spotted Megan’s vehicle down the road. I was getting so excited to see her and Jake. When she saw me, she hopped out of the car and came around to give me a big hug. Jakey was smiling at me from his carseat. Oh man, what a FACE! “Hi Jakey! How are you today???” (This is said in a high-pitched baby voice, the kind adults reserve for talking to babies and pets.) After I kissed his hair and he acted bashful, Megan placed my suitcase in the car and we left the airport.
Just one quick thought: I truly believe that Face Time and Skype technology has linked us with Jake more than you might think. I 100% swear that he knows who I am and recognizes my face and voice from the computer. So if you are an out-of-town family, like we are, use these tools to stay connected. It’s really working well over here!
Since it was noon, Megan asked if I’d like to have lunch at a place she’d been wanting to try, located on the bank of the
River. “Absolutely, yes please!” It was the first time that day I truly
felt as though I was on vacation. Clear blue skies, temps around 80 degrees,
heading to a restaurant with my daughter and grandson. So far, so good.
We talked as she drove and it felt so good to be together again. She and I have a nice give-and-take type of conversation style. I must say how impressed I was/am with how well she can get around in their brand new area since she’s only lived there for a month! She and Joe have adjusted to new cities and surroundings several times already in their marriage, and this time was no different. She is doing great!
The restaurant had a large outdoor patio, and the river (true to her promise) flowed right past us. The food was delish and we had a great time! A quick stop at a grocery store for us to pick up a few necessities for the week, and we were finally on our way to their new house. I was pretty excited to see it, and I believe she was pretty excited to show it to me.
Many of the subdivisions in the
area have extraordinary features. For
example, theirs has a catch-and-release pond (with a sidewalk/trail on which to
walk around), a playground, a pool, and a splashpad. All of the items I just
listed are within a block of their new home. There’s also another playground
and splashpad located near the middle of the neighborhood too, so depending on
how far she wants to walk, she has choices! Tulsa
One funny thing is that their subdivision is large - many streets and many homes. But directly across the road from its entrance is a huge farm. When the wind blew from the east, we could hear the cows moo’ing very loudly. One night we took Jakey out for a walk in his stroller and he was so taken with the cows! He completely connected that the noise he heard was coming from those silly animals across the road. It was quite adorable. I also want to say that he is now officially saying, “Moo!” as well as “Meow!” Yup, that’s right, “Moo!” and “Meow!” He’s brilliant, I tell ya – BRILLiant!
Anyway, as we pulled up to the kids’ new home and stepped out of the car, my eyes welled up with tears. It’s just lovely. We entered and she gave me the grand tour: spacious living areas and kitchen, plenty of bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and a fenced-in back yard for the pooch. I’m so glad that I now have that visual in my mind, and that they all seem happy to be there.
I will admit that when they said they were thinking about moving to
I voiced a concern about the state’s reputation for bad weather. They did do
their homework, and asked many questions of what people do when big storms brew.
Megan showed me their plan (the bathroom under the stairs) and explained what
they’d do should they ever need to take cover. Wouldn’t you know that the
weekend after they moved, they woke Saturday morning to a rumbling/shaking.
They’d felt the latest earthquake that their part of the country had just
experienced. See? After all the focus on storms, and what happens if this/that/or-the-other-thing
happens – something else happened
entirely. One can never predict… Never! Oklahoma
One of the days, the three of us went to the Tulsa Zoo. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect since The Milwaukee Zoo, the one I’ve experienced my whole life, is really nice. But one of the neatest aspects of our day at this smaller zoo, was how ‘active’ the animals were. First of all, we were there in the afternoon, which is usually (I think) when animals are the most hungry, so therefore most active. They were all on the move. The elephant came up really close to us, the monkeys were chattering and acting crazy, the meerkats were busy watching and digging, and the female lion actually walked all the way down the large slope in her enclosure. There was a tall overlook where we were equal in height to the giraffes, and you could basically look them right in the eyes. We were there at the exact time that they served ‘deceased rabbits’ to the hyenas, and were able to watch (and listen to) them eat, which in equal measure made me say “Eeeeew!” as well as “Wooooow!” But I think that Jake’s favorite display was the sea lions. The zoo had a large glass wall where the two sea lions alternated swimming past us. He sat in his stroller staring at them as though in a trance. I bet we stayed there with him watching for at least 20 or 30 minutes - and he’s only 14 months old!!! I think he may become a zookeeper someday. Just remember, you heard it hear first!
Zookeeper Jake surveying the sea lions
We also took a couple of hours one day to visit a pumpkin farm. The area surrounding it was very flat, exactly the way I’d always envisioned
to look. The first things that greeted us there were two large camels. There
were sheep, goats, chickens/roosters, mama pigs and piglets, as well as a baby
water buffalo they fed with a HUGE baby bottle. Everyone who worked there was
so friendly too. I think the way of life for Megan’s family is about to take a
180. Before we left, we ducked in to the shop, and looked at crafts and snacks.
Of course I had to buy some candy for later. Oh, and a pumpkin flashlight for
Jake too! Oklahoma
Which brings me to a huge “Ah ha!” moment of my visit... The last time we saw Jake it was over his first birthday. Now, just two-plus months later, he’s so much more active, as well as interactive. He’s walking everywhere, and he seems to understand a lot of what’s being said to him. There’s even a good chance that when you talk with him, he’ll mimic back a word or two. My favorite times though, are when he will quiet down and sit on my lap. I like to whisper secrets in his ear and tell him I love him. For me, I find all of these new developments so entertaining and so much fun! I’m excited for the future and all that it holds for life as a grandma!
It was a joy to be with my daughter – talking, listening, drinking coffee with her in the mornings and wine with her at night after the baby fell asleep. I loved watching her in her new surroundings as she parented, worked in her new kitchen, and navigated around her brand new town. The whole scene is more than this mom could wish for her child. It was priceless to see that Megan, Joe and Jake aren’t just “okay,” they’re doing great! There’s a lot of love in their home and it shows.
I wasn’t anywhere near as nervous to fly back home as I’d been to fly the first time. I had mixed feelings though – I felt good to be going back home to see Todd, but I knew I’d miss the kids. At the airport, Megan and I hugged a long hug and said our “I love you’s.” I planted one more kiss on Jakey’s head, and received one more sweet smile. “Bye, Buddy! See you soon…” Then I turned and walked into the airport. Megan texted me later and said that when I walked away he started to cry. Wow! I hadn’t been expecting that. It made me feel good to know that he seemed to really like me and didn’t want me to leave. Maybe some day we’ll all live a bit closer. For now, we will all do what we can…
Mostly, I’m now really excited to take Todd back so that he can see everything first-hand. We’re presently planning our next trip, and I think he’s really going to like what he sees and experiences too! If he’s lucky, and if he plays his cards right, I may even sing him the next verse of “OooooooOK-lahoma…” If you know Todd, you know exactly how much he’ll love that…!
Katie Kolberg Memmel is the author of two books: “Five Fingers, Ten Toes – A Mother’s Story of Raising a Child Born with a Limb Difference,” and “Silly Stories and Sentimental Stuff.” Both are available through Amazon as either an electronic or paperback version. For more information, please visit her website at: www.katiekolbergmemmel.com