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Road Trip – Part 2

Friday began Day 2 of the little road trip we took to Atlanta.

I got up around 6am and headed straight to the hotel’s fitness room. It was actually a decent one with a few different pieces of equipment.

The only thing wrong with this room was the thermostat, which someone had set to 76. Oh my! It was locked up, behind glass, so it couldn’t be adjusted.

Despite the heat in the room, I wanted to put some miles in on the treadmill before embarking on the day’s adventures.

I’m not going to lie, y’all. My heart was hurting. I’d held in my tears fairly well the day before but once I was in a room by myself and had Christian music playing in my ears, my emotions cut loose. It wasn’t pretty, but it was necessary.

I was worn out, physically and emotionally, as I headed back to the room where the Mr. was sleeping off our late night.

He finally got up around 11, and we headed out to kill some time before meeting up with our kiddos.

We found ourselves at the Cumberland Mall, which was conveniently located only a couple of miles from where we were staying.

Now y’all, I was in heaven. Here we had a real mall with real stores.

Hurricane Michael, you might remember, was a Cat 5 storm that DESTROYED our local mall, so shopping has been tough. We were in our element, let me tell you!

First, we went to Macy’s. Honestly, I wasn’t looking for anything in particular but once I hit the shoe department, all bets were off. I wound up getting a cute (and inexpensive) pair of dress shoes/sandals.

Next, we wandered into a store called H & M, which I’d never seen before. The clothes were geared for the younger people, but man oh man, were there some cute outfits. The bonus? There were things in MY size!!! That is a rare thing, let me tell you.

Needless to say, I began trying things on.

The prices were fabulous too, so I didn’t feel bad when I left the store with a few outfits.

Just as I was changing into my last romper, I got a text from Rooster asking where we were and what we were doing for lunch. You see, they were stuck without a car since they’d ridden to Atlanta with us. After a flurry of text messages, we arranged to meet up at one of Rooster’s favorite restaurants: Cheesecake Factory, which was conveniently located at the mall we were currently shopping at.

We ran back to the hotel, picked up Rooster and N, and headed back where Chicky and B met us a few minutes later.

For the first time since Christmas Day 2016 (936 days), I had all of my children in one place.

Talk about a happy mama!!!

Lunch was amazing; vegan options were aplenty.

We had a lot of laughs as we shared stories and talked about the latest happenings. We learned a few things about each other as well, such as how much Rooster loves his cheesecake and how he doesn’t like to share. Ha!

When we finished lunch, we found ourselves facing a horrendous thunderstorm. Rooster had been closely monitoring the weather, and storms had been brewing and were forecast to hit hard around game time that evening. I’d told everyone to pray the rain away, and Chicky, who had lost the nose goes game (a race to see who’s the last to put a finger on his/her nose to say grace before the meal), had included a request to keep the rain away.

Since God works in His own time, and it was still raining, we decided to do more shopping.

Can I just tell you how much fun it is to shop with adult children who don’t need their hands held or to be told to put things down? I mean, it’s their money, so THEY get to buy it if they break it. Ha!

There were sales to be had, purses to be bought, shoes to be tried on and modeled, and team jerseys to decide between.

I bought all the things and felt nary a twinge of guilt – because Hurricane Michael, y’all.

This is a dust bag to protect a purse when it’s not being used. Rooster’s girl explained this to me. Am I the last to know this?
I bought a matching wallet too, which was also on sale.
The kids told me that these shoes were incredible (and made me look very cool). They should have gotten a commission!

At one point, Chicky called it quits and declared that it was time to leave. When we walked out of the mall, we were greeted by sunshine!!!! Y’all, God had heard our prayers and answered in the affirmative. I know that this isn’t always the case, so I was especially grateful!

We took a little ride to a local coffee shop where I tried a new-to-me drink.

I got the Lawn Boy. Even after adding a packet of regular sugar, I decided that matcha was an acquired taste.

I texted Super Sis and told her that the flavor of the weekend was inspired by nature. Ha!

I will say that once we all had our drinks and were sitting around a small, round table, things felt so very right. The small shop – my people – oh my heart!

At some point, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the game.

There were newly-purchased jerseys to don, caps to place just so, Facetimes to help set said caps (thanks, Super Sis), and other things to prepare.

Hat off?

Super Sis advised that if I was going to wear my hat, I needed to pull some hair forward and make sure the rest of the hair on the sides wasn’t poofy. Who knew that wearing a hat was so complicated?

Or hat on?

Then, we headed out.

Our hotel was located next to The Battery, so the walk didn’t take long. It was like playing Follow the Leader. Police officers kept traffic at bay at the intersections so we could cross safely, and we were at the stadium in no time.

Before we entered, though, I requested pictures.

I’d held myself back up this point knowing that this would be the perfect photo op. My children graciously accepted my request, and man oh man, I don’t think a professional photographer could have set things up better.

We are cute, are we not?

A huge shout out goes to the random guy who kindly said yes when I asked him to take the pictures (even after I asked him if he was good at it – oops!).

He was and even took multiple photos. Go Random Dude!

Then we headed in, and I was amazed at the sheer size of the stadium.

There were plenty of places to get refreshments and a slew of eateries with menu options to fit every eating lifestyle. Who knew that you could drink wine while you attended a baseball game?

Rooster had put some thought into the purchase of our tickets and had made sure that we wouldn’t be sitting in the sun too long. Our seats were perfect!

It had been years since I’d been to a professional baseball game; technology had come a long way, y’all.

I asked for a few more photos before we settled into the game.

There were pictures taken between innings as well because, well, I was a mama who hadn’t had her babies together in 936 days.

And these two . . . bestill my heart . . .

I refuse to apologize the number of pictures I’m posting because seriously, how adorable are we?

The only people I didn’t get selfies with were N and B. Sorry y’all! We will make up for that next time, I promise!

I only left my seat once to find food. There was a place that sold vegan hot dogs. I couldn’t believe it! In fact, my hot dog looked like the real thing – so much so that I pinched off a piece, took a small bite, and returned to the stand to tell the guy that I believed he’d given me a real hot dog. He told me that he hadn’t, and when I asked how he could be sure, he told me that they grilled the real ones but didn’t grill the vegan ones.

I didn’t take a photo because it looked weird when I tried. Trust me on that. The taste was on point though.

So, back to the game. I’ll admit that I haven’t watched baseball in quite some time, so I didn’t know the players. I could tell the most popular ones though. Rooster and N had been following the Braves and cheered loudly for their players. I heard B explaining to Chicky some of the particulars of the game. Remember that she knows all of the soccer things being that soccer was her life for so many years.

One thing I had not been prepared for was the tomahawk chop. Oy vey!

Y’all, I am an Auburn fan. I do not like FSU. At all. The music for the chop was played every few minutes, and I felt as though I was at an FSU game. I texted my friend, Megan, who had been to a Braves game a couple of months ago and told her that she had not prepared me for this. She laughed.

Rooster assured me that the Braves had the chop before FSU, but I refused to participate. I just couldn’t.

The game wound up being super close, and it came down to the last hit. The Braves won, and the crowd went wild!

Because it was Friday night, there was a fireworks show.

I’ve never been much of a fireworks girl, but I have to say that this one was spectacular!

Once it was over, we left and ambled around The Battery. A drum line corp was putting on quite the show just outside the stadium. A deejay kept the crowd going. What fun!

There weren’t a lot of places open by that time. We went back to Punch Bowl Social and tried to get food, but it was so crowded from the game attendees that we wound up leaving.

After wandering a bit, we made our way to the hotel.

I’d been dreading this because the see-you-laters were about to commence. I didn’t want my time with the kids to end.

We shared quiet laughs brought on by the lateness of the evening, and long, tight hugs were exchanged.

Chicky and B left the hotel to return to the place they were staying, and we rode the elevator with Rooster and N.

When you don’t get to see your children but once every blue moon, you stretch out your time together even more. I felt as though my feet were dragging as we walked out of the elevator.

Final hugs were given, and I stepped on my tiptoes to kiss Rooster’s cheek. Then, I watched him and his girl walk down the hallway to their room.

Sigh.

I didn’t cry though. The memories from the past five days had filled my heart with a joy that crowded out the tears.

I have learned that it matters not the amount of time you have with your people; it’s the way you spend said time that really counts.

We had packed a LOT of things into the hours we’d been together and had created lifelong memories in the process.

Day 2 of our road trip was in the books. Day 3 was just around the corner.

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