Thursday, August 28, 2014

An eventful Rainy day


Thursday, we were going to be headed to Marion for Grandpa Willman's Viewing and the funeral on Friday.   So, we return from one trip, to load up and go for another.  The boys were fine the day before, but by lunchtime, it was clear, they needed their routines back.  So Thursday morning, we sent them to school for the half day.  I was up very early, and couldn't go back to sleep for the storm. It was pouring down rain, so the boys put their raincoats on as they ran for the bus.  They barely fit them still.   

After loading up the car, we got dressed for the viewing and headed to the boys' school, to have lunch with the boys, and take them home.  

First, we went to Sam's class.  
And we saw this self-portrait outside his classroom.  
She'd taken a picture of him which was rather entertaining.  

We'd arrived a bit early for Sam's lunch, they were still doing some finishing up of their english work, so we lurked outside the door, and got to see Sam finishing up.  Parents and a baby brother can be very distracting in a classroom, and we didn't want to disturb.  We made Sam's day by having lunch with him.  He picked 2 friends that are girls from his class P and B to join us for lunch.   And turns out I don't mind school cafeteria food.  They have a small salad bar now, that's not too shabby.  

We had about 15 minutes before Sam's lunch ended and Chris's began.  So we went to the office for the elevator keys and got to go up to Chris's class. We found this t-shirt project outside the classroom on the wall.  We were invited in, and when we went in, they were all doing an earth science project on the sun.  Chris was just reading, since it was apparently a group project, and we'd missed most of the group time by being gone all week.  That was ok though, Chris was able to give back a good chunk of the work we'd missed, and pick up some more, so that even though we'd be gone the better part of a week, he wasn't missing too much, he was staying pretty caught up.  I was pretty proud of him.  

He was pretty proud to be able to wear the elevator key, and escort us out.  He opted not to stay and have lunch, but for us to go get Sam from recess, and head up to Marion, he had his lunch he could eat in the car.  So we hit the road and headed north.  

I'm very proud of the boys and how they handled just popping in for one half day during an entire week.  They both do better with the routine.  But I'm proud that they were following up and trying to stay current with their class.  I have some very smart boys.  Seeing them do normal things helps heal my heart too. 

It was a blissfully brief drive to Marion.  And the hotel there was much nicer, one of Eric's second cousins, Matt Willman is a manager at the Comfort Suites there, so he reserved us a wing of rooms at a discounted funeral rate.  No exploding toilets, no strangers walking in on us as we exit the shower, and 2 queens and a foldout couch.  Perfect.  Cousin Matt took good care of us all. It was funny checking in, because the desk clerks would ask, name, Willman.  So many Willmans, so little time.  

It was good to see everyone.  It really was.  I hate that this was what brought us together, but it was good to just have some time to talk to folks, to laugh and tell stories, and to reminisce.  

When we got to the viewing, there were all kinds of really neat memorabilia out for Grandpa. 
Scrapbook pages.  
His memoirs, that the kids and cousins had all worked together to type up, the story is officially called "The Autobiography of Wilbur Willman or The Farm Boy Grows Up" by Wilbur Willman.  I didn't get to read the whole thing, but it was good.  One of of Eric's cousins took pictures of Grandpa's entire golf ball collection, and put them into books.  There were nearly 3000 golfballs.  
I looked those books, and just got teary.  Each ball had a story, it may have been from a game he shot, or a gift from someone who loved him.  That's a lot of little love stories. 

Something I will always love about Grandpa Willman was his patient way around little kids.  They always brought him great joy, he'd get a special twinkle in his eye each time he met a new member of the family.  Each of my boys loved to steal his cane and try to run off with it.  And he'd just sit back and smile.  He got such a kick out of kids just being kids.  He loved being outdoors, and seeing the kids go out and play.  The cousins loved and still love to go toss a football around, or whatever other thing one could toss.   He was an avid gardner, putzing around in a garden until his 97th summer.  This had been the first year he hadn't been healthy enough to tend to it.  It was his idea of Good Times to just sit in the living room.  He was deaf as could be, so their noise didn't bother him, but he loved to see them having fun.  And family get-togethers, well, they were always fun for the littles.  In my mind, he was the kind of Grandpa everyone wished they could have.  Eric was very Blessed with his Grandparents.  I tell you, Heaven is a very lucky place.    

It occurs to me, it's the End of an Era.  I guess as long as Grandpa was with us, we'd still be going up to Marion, and the cousins would all play, and we'd all eat well, and the menfolk would all fall asleep smiling on the couch, not listening to the kids be all crazy around them.  Geez, I'm going to miss that. 

And yet, as I sit, getting teary, all the cousins of the next generation, go running around the funeral home, playing, and having a good time, just being together.  We have 6 Willman kids under age 2 right now.  Grandpa had 4 children, 14 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren!  It may have been the end of an era, but the fun goes on.

My boys were having fun playing with their cousins. 
It's a little blurry, but cousin Tula was playing with Jacob.  It was a lot less noticeable this visit that there is only 6 months between them.  

Christopher performed his Karate kata for Uncle Bill, who he just learned was a Shihan.   

The viewing was 4 hours, from 4-8, and the family was there at 3, so they could have some personal time.  So it was a long evening.  Blessedly, cousin Dollie Beth and Aunt Betty had put out plenty of snacks, so the kids (and a fair few of the grownups) could sneak into the lounge and have a bite to eat.  No hangry mamas at this family get together!  And I'd brought the dvd player, so the kids could watch cartoons if they wanted.  They did.  They watched lots of Batman: Brave and Bold.  That's Chris's favorite.   About 7, they boys started to show signs of wearing down.  They started to lose their minds because they wanted to go swimming in the hotel pool.  I decided to take a break from the viewing, and take the big boys back over for a swim break.  I'd done the math, and we wouldn't be back until late, then eating dinner after, and the funeral was at 10 the next morning.  It wasn't going to happen, unless I made it happen.  So I took them over for a swim and left Eric with the baby.  It was exactly what we needed for refreshment, nice cool water, and laughing.  I had both of them playing with me, playing tag, swimming underwater.  Then 5 minutes before I had planned on getting out, it started to storm, so they had to close the pool, because of the glass moveable panels windows or something.  That was fine, we needed to get back to the viewing anyway.  But we walked back over as it started to rain.  I didn't mind, my hair was already wet from the pool anyway.

After the viewing ended, the Willman kids, and grandkids, and even a couple of the great-grandkids all practiced singing When Peace Like a River.  There were easy 30 of us singing.  And man, it's a gift to be a part of this family, to be surrounded by their musicality.  Even though there were some moist eyes, it was Beautiful.  

I could have been perfectly content to go home right then and there, but there was more beauty to come in saying farewell to Grandpa the next day.  

After the viewing, we all headed back to the hotel.  By that time, it was Pouring down rain.  Good thing the hotel was right next door.  But we walked, so we were dashing across in the rain, I was holding the big boys hands, screaming/singing Singing in the Rain as loud as I could, so they didn't upset at the thunder, lightning, and pouring down rain in the dark.  I ended up laughing it was so silly.  We were all soaked.  So we changed our clothes, back into the kids school stuff, and went down the hall to the conference room.  The Willmans had taken over the conference room for dinner.  Mom and Dad had chosen Pizza King pizza and BW3 Wings.  Eric pointed out that we may have inadvertantly started a new tradition this summer, that after a funeral, we need to get pizza and wings.  Even Jacob was grumping for more pizza and I was sharing the meat of some of my milder wings with him too.  Turns out at least these Willmans love pizza and wings.  So we all sat around eating, and drinking, Ryan had brought some of his homemade wine.  We got to talk with the family, laugh and tell stories.  Aunt Betty and I started to get a little teary when we thought about the future, how the dynamics and traditions might be changing, we opted to end it with Don't even talk about it.  So I'm not, I'm going to focus, not on the end of the era, but on the new lives, and the stories of love and laughter we can all share.  About 10:30-11, the boys started to lose their minds.  They'd held up like superchamps, but it was time to go to bed and call it a night.  So we did.  Eric stayed up a little longer yucking it up with his cousins.  I think we need to do this again, plan an adventure, the kind not about a funeral, wherein we all can sit around and yuck it up into the wee small hours.   

I'm thinking Summer 2016.  For that would have been 70 years since Grandma and Grandpa got married.  When Eric and I were dating, they all went to Colorado, where they'd met and married to celebrate the 50th Anniversary. But that is a schemey story for another time.