Last week I packed up my kids (Ashlyn is 2 1/2 and Avery is 3 months) and flew out to California for a long overdue visit with the California O’C’s. A few months ago my husband Pat flew out for Marty’s big event, but I wasn’t able to join him because Avery was only a few weeks old at that point. Anyways, this trip was a solo mission and it went surprisingly well despite a ridiculously dramatic tantrum (compliments of Ashlyn) moments before we boarded our plane….don’t let this cute pic fool you 😉
Anyways, once we got to California it was pretty smooth sailing and the girls were so beyond excited to see their Grandpa, Uncle Marty, Aunt Jessie, Aunt Lauren and Uncle Josh. We swam in the Marty’s pool, visited Lauren and Josh’s house in the mountains, watchedAngels game fireworks from the balcony and ate tons of good food!
Early in the trip, we all went to the Goodwill gym where Marty works out to see what he has been up to these past couple of months. On that particular day, my Dad and the staff loaded Marty into a harness to do some locomotor training on the treadmill. It was so good to see him initiating steps and getting his body moving. His new strength and movement, was such a big change since my last visit. I know, for him, it doesn’t feel like a ton has changed, but the progress is steady and I left the gym that day feeling so hopeful. Another big change…. I say the same thing each time i see him – but i swear he has grown since this whole ordeal started! When he stands he looks like he is 6’3” now (seriously)!
Another cool thing was seeing Ashlyn light up around her Uncle Marty. One of her new tricks is saying “pound-it” and she loved bumping fists with him. She helped push him around ( into gates and stuff- sorry Marty – ha ha) and got lots of wheelchair rides that brought back so many memories of me being younger….You might not know, that my Grandpa O’Connor (also named Marty) was in a wheelchair from his early twenties on because of Polio. When all of us grandkids were little he would let us sit on his lap and make fire engine noises as we rode around his house. It is hard to see Marty in the same position, but knowing how much fun Ashlyn had bonding with her Uncle Marty and his “cool ride” was really sweet.
I loved getting the chance to catch up, and so wish that I could be there all the time to make good dinners, play and hang out. In so many ways, this trip was just like all the other visits with my brother and that was really nice. Everybody got to meet Avery for the first time and the whole week was just “light” and easy. Hopefully it wont be too long before we can all do this again – Next time, with the whole family!
…And maybe, if we are lucky enough, this little guy in the background can show us how he magically breaks 400 toothpicks (one at a time) with one hand again;)