Location: Michigan and Wisconsin
I’ve been living overseas for more than eight years now. I can always feel the distance between myself and home. Sometimes the feeling is just there. A benign annoyance that behaves only if fed properly with visits back and Skype dates. But, sometimes it pulls. And nags. And claws. And throws a full-on, fist-pounding, legs-sprawling, tears-in-the-middle-of-the-check-out-aisle tantrum in your psyche until you can feed it. Aside from the obvious quality time with family and friends, mine especially likes to be fed good beer, cheese curds, Packer football, and other gloriously Wisconsin pastimes.
This past year of sailing the South Pacific has given me a multitude of things I can be thankful for (personal growth, sailing knowledge, confidence, strength, inner peace, reflection, time to read a pile of great books, etc, etc… ) but a fast, reliable Internet connection has NOT been one of them. Therefore, I’ve been out of touch. Understandably so. I’ve embraced this as part of the growing process that comes along with embarking on such a trip. But, that doesn’t make it any easier, and I was ready for a break. I needed my people. It was time to go home. And missing middle brother’s nuptials even if we were a half-a-world away was certainly not an option.
So, we packed up the few items in our wardrobes that weren’t already full of holes or engine grease stains and hit the airport. It’s amazing how quickly your clothes get beat up and you turn into Captain Ron. Yeah, I’d say this summarizes my look aboard Tayrona most days:
Our unsightly clothing behind, we didn’t have much to carry with us. Each suitcase we brought did have it’s corresponding empty duffle bag inside earmarked for all the boat parts we’d be shlepping back with us from the U.S. Our flights from Fiji to Chicago went smoothly, although it is incredibly disheartening to, in only 17 hours, take back all those miles you fought tooth and nail to achieve. One year on a sailboat = one ten-hour flight and one four-hour flight aboard a 747. There’s a gut-punch to efficiency for ya.
After my folks picked me up at the airport (Pete took a third flight to get him over closer to his parents in Michigan), we didn’t stop our chatterboxes from flapping the entire trip back up the Green Bay. The drive flew by, and then it was an immediate un-pack, re-pack before heading up to the cottage for the night. After getting all their free-loading kids out of the house, my parents have been able to buy a small, but oh-so-adorable, cottage on their favorite lake. And, I hadn’t seen it yet! All the siblings came up to meet us later, and we had one of those dinners together in which you can’t remember what was said but do remember laughing throughout the entirety of the meal. Sweet Jesus, I needed that.
The following day, it was bachelorette party time for my future sister-in-law. Let me tell you, when you haven’t used it in over a year, putting some actual make-up on your sun-beaten face can be a very exciting thing. And, if the wedding is anything like the bachelorette party, this is going to be one, rocking good time ladies and gents.
So, this would be how my trip stateside would be bookmarked. Bachelorette party my first weekend home, wedding on our last. The in-between was jam packed full of long-overdue quality time with my folks, my siblings, my grandparents, my family and friends. Including…
Plenty of relaxation and family fun at the cottage:
A good amount, but “never-seems-like-enough” time with girlfriends:
Enough cards and games with some of my favorite folks to keep me happy for a bit:
A Packer game with killer seats:
Downhome fun at my best buddy’s little brother’s wedding (with one handsome date):
And while I was galavanting with friends and family in Wisconsin, Pete was also having himself a grand time in Michigan with his clan.
Then, I don’t know how it happened, but in the blink of an eye three weeks flew by, and it was time for the big day. Being both my little and next eldest brother, Adam and I have seen some ups and downs in our relationship as siblings. The downs were characterized by those cherished teeth-knocking-out, storage-shed-locking-in, I’m-breaking-all-your-favorite-toys moments of childhood. But, I’d say we got all those nasty moments thoroughly sussed out before, say, 1998, and we’ve been very close ever since. Now, we have a bond that comes only from conversations at the bar that start “No, our childhood fights were so much worse than yours. Get this…” and I can’t imagine having a kinder, more thoughtful, and caring set of brothers than I have now.
And there is no one in the world better suited for the antics of my brother Adam than Becky. I love the guy, but, Becky, is a saint. She just gets him. And loves him despite all that. (Kidding!) Adam’s a great guy, a special guy, and he found a woman who makes him happy and loves him for everything that he is. What else can you hope for as the big (just slightly protective) sister?
Wedding festivities started with homemade bouquets and centerpieces, a low-key bachelor party for the out of town boys (and I got to tag along), and, of course, rehearsal dinner fun.
The wedding day was beautiful, touching, and, as predicted, one hell of a good time. But, can we please do it all over again?! It all went by much, much too fast!
With a wrestling-themed Grand March…. of course….
And so, the beast has been fed. For the time-being. Saying good-bye is never easy, and this time around it was tougher than I’ve ever remembered it being. Such is the life of the sailing nomad, I suppose. I’ll be back soon. I swear I can still smell those cheese curds…
Several pictures courtesy of Jenna Lynn Photography.
Find the whole lot of them here: Jenna Lynn Photography- Becky & Adam