We arrived at the main ‘gathering’ cabin, where six of my cousins were staying. Many arms came to hug Mom, and help her down the walkway.
Mom settled amongst a pod of cousins on the generous front porch. Hurricane T had taken a few tentative steps toward the group, but Cousin L did not wait. Meeting her at the edge of the porch, she wrapped her arms around T, crushing 30 years in seconds.
Cousin L took T over to her brother, P. More hugs. P introduced his wife, P, and as they were all three wearing collegiate sports shirts, the conversation took off.
Meanwhile, TK had parked the car, and come down the walkway, standing next to me. i was about to start introductions and she said “Wait. Not yet. Let it happen…”
Cousin L brought the “happen”. Throwing her arms around TK she said “It is SO good to meet you! I’ve heard so much about you, and enjoy your pictures on Facebook! Welcome to the family!”
Waterworks on my part. TK was a little choked up, too, but kept her composure. Cousin L brought her to Cousin S, who provided an equally warm welcome to the clan.
Catching T’s eye across the porch, she was also on the verge of losing it. We were saved by a call to dinner – which meant i needed to escort Mom inside, lest she miss the chance to lead the Buffet Conga Line.
Realizing that the extended family would be taking care of T and TK, i went to the kitchen to sort logistics. DQ and her clan were there, hanging out and relaxing.
Flying here and there, i tracked arrival times of other family, explained cabin layout, set up the WiFi access code for people who needed it – basically worked the ‘hive’. i went upstairs to check on bed linens and passed T and DQ at the bottom of the stairs.
Hurricane T: I really do appreciate all you do for Mom – taking her to doctors appointments is a full-time job…
Continued upstairs – in shock! How can this be happening? Was i overly worried about this?
Scooted out the front door a few minutes later to get something from the car, past T and Cousin L, i found DQ on the front porch. In tears.
daisyfae: What happened?
DQ: What have I done to her? Why does she hate me? Is she drunk already?
daisyfae: She was drinking before we got here, so she’s probably getting lit. There’s rum in her sippy cup…
DQ: I’m sitting on the sofa, right in front of her. She starts telling Cousin L that she’s got a huge problem with Mom’s living situation and everything “going on there”, but that she’s put her concerns aside to come here and be with the family.
daisyfae: Shit. It was going well…
DQ: I know! She was so nice to me! What did I DO?!?
daisyfae: Relax. Cousin L knows that there is a problem with T. She knows all you do to take care of Mom. She is not going to judge you based on what T says… i’ll go shut it down.
Stepped back inside, but the conversation with Hurricane T and Cousin L had already shifted to work-related talk. DQ and her clan headed out to their cabin for a break. i found TK and she went to pinch off Hurricane T for the night, and get her back to our cabin.
By late evening, the dust had settled. Cousin L found me and said “I think I have a better understanding of your challenges…” and i thanked her for the re-direct. She said she’d be sure to say a few supportive words to DQ at the right time.
Sitting in the living room with DQ, i listened again to her frustration. Thanked her for sucking it up and avoiding “escalation of hostilities”.
Her husband, BJ, poked his head in the door of the cabin.
BJ: Hey, can one of you come out here and get a picture of this snake?
DQ and i grabbed cameras and went out to the gravel driveway.
BJ: Just thought it might be a good idea to see what just bit me on the toe…
We got a couple of blurry pictures as the snake slithered into the undergrowth from the driveway. We were barefoot, but being very careful to watch our step! DQ finally got a close-up of the snake, including the head.
Hit the WiFi with my iPad. Confirmed what i’d already suspected. Copperhead. He needed medical attention. Fast…