Nora took her first flight (and watched her first movie on my iPod -- Mickey Mouse classic "The Brave Little Tailor". She flew very well all things considered. One scream or two on the flight in (I will fly non-stop with her for the foreseeable future), but otherwise she was remarkably well behaved.
What a long time waiting for all of us last weekend. Over the past 5 years, Brian and I had suffered through three losses and the loss of our little Jacob in 2006...and our friends in Denver were there through all of it. So you can imagine how much it meant to us to be able to take our Nora to Denver and have her meet all these friends.
She got dragged around a lot. She was really quite patient about the whole thing. Like our friend Scott said "She's like the Holy Grail. Everyone has to SEE HER.
And see and hold our girl is exactly what a lot of people got to do!
We stayed with Wendi & Marcello in Aurora. Wendi, who's mom to Mateo, was a great set of extra arms for me...Which is very important when you're traveling and don't have all the usual toys and swings, etc. to divert your baby.
On Friday we went to our old house on Perry Street to say goodbye. It was sad to say goodbye to the house. Almost none of our neighbors were home, but we did get to see John from across the street.
We peeked in the windows to see the hardwood floors had been done and circled the house a couple of times.
Goodbye, house. We felt at home there and so did many others. We will miss you.
Nora didn't stop learning new skills on her trip. Here, we practice sticking our tongues out at each other. Along with blowing raspberries, Nora now has the second "skill" of sticking out her tongue at me. For some reason, she thinks this is VERY funny!
After we signed off on the house, we went to Delois' house in West Denver to see her and her kids. Delois and I go way back to 1999 (Delois, can you believe next year it'll be 10 years since we became friends?) when we worked at a newspaper in Washington State. I shared a cubicle with her husband, who's now a Denver Post reporter.
I remember thinking Delois was so quiet...then found out what a wild child she was. I have figured out that that's the truth of a lot of my friends. But I knew Delois was one of those people I'd want for a friend, and I'm so glad to still know her!
Then later on Friday we headed over to Doug & Susan's place. Here we met up with them and their son Louis, who gave Nora her VERY FIRST KISS. He liked her a lot, and I started calling him my "future son-in-law".
Susan & Doug have suffered losses similar to ours, and it was bittersweet to have that dinner together. Their son Louis was due the same week as Jacob, and I caught myself realizing how big Jacob would be, and wondering how he would have looked if all had gone so differently.
Before we left, we had a good cry. But oh, how wonderful it was to have the picture taken of us with our kids. I still cry when I think about how long a road we've all come, and how long a road so many others have gone too to make their families.
On Friday night, we drove through a bit of a snowstorm to get home. I had dropped Brian off in Lakewood (Western suburb of Denver) to go to Southeast Aurora (which is aptly called "Saudi Aurora" because it's just that far out there). The city was obviously taken by surprise as to how much snow was falling, so I drove through quite a bit in a rental car with only 2-wheel drive. The nice thing was that I knew by the next morning, Denver being Denver, the roads would be cleared due to the all-night work of highly professional snow removal, so when I woke up to go to Shiela's I was glad to see I was right.
So Saturday morning off to Golden Nora and I went.
Shiela snuggled and snuggled with Nora. She talked on the phone with our pastor's wife and said "I'm holding Nora RIGHT NOW!"
Shiela was there for us at the bitter end of Jacob's life. When I gave birth to him, and I could see he was gone, Shiela kept my Mom company during the birth, then came and baptized him and cried right along with us.
To be able to bring her our girl -- well, you can imagine how many hearts Nora got to heal on this trip.
After a WONDERFUL breakfast of quiche and OJ and coffee, Nora and I packed up and headed to Carrie's house up in Northglenn. After a few wrong turns, I finally found her house, where Jenn came too.
As many of you know, I belong to an online support group for those of us parenting after a loss. Several of us live(d) in the Denver Metro area, even though there are about 60-70 members, some spanning the globe.
It was neat to be able to see Jenn & Carrie, and I met Carrie's Mom too! We sat and talked for a few hours, just catching up and watching Nora get a little wound up.
As you can imagine by the time we were at Door #3 -- at Scott and Laura's -- Nora was about to have her occasional evening meltdown. We waited for Scott & Laura to come back from a friend's funeral, then we had pizza.
I held her, Brian held her, I held her some more. Scott took her, then finally, Laura took her.
Konk. Somehow (perhaps through attrition, surrender, or perhaps Laura's superior skills), Nora was out asleep for a while. It gave us all a chance to visit for a while, and then it was time to go home to Aurora.
Sunday was our time to stay put and let our friends come to us! Meg, another friend from PALP, came with her two boys, and it's been TOO long since we saw her. What a great time it was to see her and have her hold my girl!
Concetta stopped by too, and we got to hear about her new boyfriend and talk about her going icefishing with him. If you knew Concetta and how she borrows air mattresses to put in a tent while camping, you would find this especially entertaining as I did.
Barb, who has a nephew the same age as Nora, hadn't held a baby that small, but given that Nora was having a good time, I placed her in Barb's lap and they both did great!
Then Monday morning it was time to go home!
It was only 7 degrees outside that morning, so we had to start the car and let it run a while...Nora got her first cheek-burns from the cold in the few seconds we waited to board the shuttle from the rent-a-car place to the airport terminal.
Thankfully Daddy thought to cover her carseat with a blanket so she wasn't further exposed. Man, it was amazing how quickly those cheeks turned rosy, then stayed that way with a little "cold burn".
With a 30 minute stop in Phoenix (we didn't even get off the plane), Nora and Brian and I flew home to Portland.
I'm tired just having typed all this, but suffice to say, we had a great time!
Thanks to everyone who saw us, and thanks especially to Mars and Wendi for putting us up!