This past August, Chase came to me and asked about going on a weekend getaway. I told him no and that I had too much going on. I encouraged him to have a brothers’ trip instead. Like the stubborn child he is, he kept pestering me that he wanted it to be a family trip. What 20 year old wants to spend a weekend with old, grumpy mama?
He started asking about memories that he had from trips many years ago that his daddy had taken us on. Trips to Santee. One time, Joseph got the bright idea that it would be cool to rent a houseboat and spend a weekend fishing with his young boys. In my mind, It was a trip straight from Satan himself! My idea of a houseboat and the Santee River’s idea of a houseboat are about as different as night and day. It was horrible. It stunk. It was permanently tied to a dock in a part of the Santee that the water is stagnant and rancid. And surely infested with 100 ft long ferocious 🐊 alligators that were waiting to devour two precious 👦 👦 boys as soon as mommy turned her head. All I remember is Joseph loving it and me being absolutely miserable. The boys remember it as an adventure and catching lots of fish, and their worlds being innocent and sheltered from the heartbreak that would later come. They talked about their mama and daddy helping them to reel in fish and acting like it was a world record breaker. 🐟 They remember mama squealing and making them put the worms on her line. Which I still do! 🐛
Another trip, we rented a cabin in Poinsett State Park. Hunter was probably 3 and Chase 5. That was a great trip. I had a real bed and a real shower. 😂 There is a picture somewhere of Hunter standing completely inside of a hole in a giant tree. Chase reminisced about his daddy taking him out in a John boat 🚣🏿 . His daddy paddled them clear across the lake and realized that the boat had a hole. Hunter and I sat on the side of the lake screaming for them to come back! Sweet memories.
The memories are endless. The watershed. The walking trails. The cabin.
It slowly dawned on me that Chase was looking for ropes to grab ahold of and wanted to go back to these places…. where these sweet memories were made. Santee holds a piece of his daddy. A piece of him. The river was calling.
We were headed to Santee for Thanksgiving.
We arrived yesterday afternoon and last night I just looked around and started counting my blessings one by one. The wood walls of these cabins now contain the same laughter of two little boys that have grown up in the fifteen years since they have been here. Today, they got up early and went exploring to find some of the things of their memories past. They found them, and beautiful pieces of Joseph. He lives in the wind, in the falling of the leaves, but especially in the memories of times past.
I wasn’t sure how Preston would do, being that we were taking a huge scroll back into a chapter of our lives that didn’t include him. Like always, my worries were fruitless. It’s hard to explain, there was no nasty divorce. There’s nothing bad that I can or will say about their daddy. He loved his boys more than all the fish in Santee. Joseph is a huge part of our lives every single day. Preston knows that he has his own special place in the boys’ hearts that belongs solely to him. Their actions since Preston’s sickness speak volumes for their love for him. He didn’t just adopt them…. but they did him as well. And I have no doubt will always do for him what they would do for their daddy. Hunter has always summed it up best….. Preston never came into their lives to replace their daddy, but to pick up where he left off.
I’m not sure how you guys are spending your Thanksgiving, but you’ll find me sitting in a wooden shack in Santee counting my blessings one by one, from old chapters to new chapters.
Be blessed, God is good!
The stuffed beancounter