We spent Labor Day weekend in Birmingham this year. It was our first trip back since Brent's graduation from UAB five years ago. Our sweet friends all came to town and we had a reunion. It was just great. We are so thankful for Bill and Shannon organizing us all, and for all the people who planned our activities. Until now, some or all of us were still in training. There are only two couples left who are not quite finished, and they will finish fellowships next summer. So very hopefully, this will become a much more frequent event.
I found myself with tons of emotions the entire weekend, yet I did not cry even once! It was so strange to be back in the city we called home for four years, but to be there as visitors. It's not often we go on a trip where we know all the roads and attractions so intimately. Brent and I agreed that it felt like we were in a time warp of sorts. It felt very normal driving around and going to places we used to frequent, but at the same time we knew we weren't really home anymore. Plus, we had these three yahoos we have picked up over the years. When we left Birmingham, Andrew was five months old! So you could say things have changed a bit.
When we arrived in town, we headed to Homewood Park for a picnic lunch with everyone. I think in the heat, I just totally forgot that I needed to make pictures, and so I have none from this event. But it was hot. So picture everyone red faced and "glistening." We drove by our old apartment and showed the boys. Then we headed to our hotel. We had some super excited boys in the backseats. This was the first time we had stayed in a hotel with them. All of our other vacations have been in condos or at the lakehouse, so they were beside themselves wondering what the experience in the hotel would be.
Here the bigger ones are "helping" Brent with the luggage cart.
And here they all are checking out the view. Everyone slept very well at night.
After some resting, we headed over to Briarwood Presbyterian for a dinner catered by CMMA. This ministry is responsible for the friendships we formed during med school. CMMA is probably responsible for most of the good memories we have of Birmingham if I really think about it. We met every Monday night in a physician's home for dinner, worship, fellowship, and encouragement. It was a key part of our medical school experience. We are so thankful for that church and it's vision for helping students and families through those very difficult years.
Our boys had tons of fun playing with new friends, and we had fun visiting with dear ones as well.
Sunday morning we had breakfast at the hotel (which Andrew and Coleman thought was the coolest thing ever) and then drove around a bit. It was very rainy thanks to tropical storm Lee, so we didn't get out. We drove Andrew by St. Vincent's Hospital, the precious place where we first met him. He clearly remembers where Coleman was born, and of course knows where Jonathan was born, and was so excited to see where he was born. Then we ran in Klingler's bakery, my very favorite spot. Coleman and I picked up lunch for everyone and then we headed back to the hotel. We swam for a bit, ate lunch, and headed out again. Everyone went to an indoor jumping place. It was super crowded and between keeping up with the boys and trying to visit with everyone, this was the only picture I got.
After jumping around for a while, we headed back to the hotel. For dinner, Brian's parents offered their home for us to have dinner and hang out. It was a great evening. It was so fun to watch our children all play and interact together. Most of them weren't even born when we were all in school. But boy do we have a bunch between us! I made a few pictures at the Brunson's, but again, keeping up with everyone and trying to visit makes it difficult to get good photos.
The boys loved being outside (in the drizzle) and running and playing. They invented some kind of game with a ball and played it for a long time.
Here's a shot of all us girls, with a few of the kids sprinkled in. They made a shot of the guys, but I was upstairs when it was taken. I wish we had tried to make one of all the kids together. We'll have to do that next time.
Sunday morning we loaded up and then ate breakfast at the hotel buffet again. Here are two yahoos helping with the luggage.
Andrew got reacquainted with some of his very first playmates that weekend. Micah and Dathan and their parents also did residency in Winston-Salem, so we kept up our friendship while we were there. I don't know if any of the boys remember those days, but I sure do. Here's a shot of the three of them Monday morning before we all left town.
And here they are in our little living room in Winston Salem almost exactly five years ago.
Even with the heat and then the rain, we had the best weekend. What a precious group of people God put together that summer of 2002. We are so blessed by those friendships and pray they continue for many more years.