This weekend, I'll be gathering with my cousins for our weekend adventure we used to call Mother Daughter Weekend.
And before you start making fun of us as if were the Gilmore Girls, we are not. It was a tradition that started a few years ago, where my cousins, Kathleen, Colleen, and me, would get together with my mom, Susie, Carol, and another Carol.
The first year we didn't know how it would work, so 5 of the 6 of us, are gambling lovers, (not me), so we spent the weekend at the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
It was a beautiful resort, but I was the only one that cared. I spent a lot of hours in the pool, and the hot tub. The next year, we talked a bit more, and had our weekend at Kathleen's house in Roscommon. We talked more, and ate more snack food.
Another year, we were in Cleveland, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
And our last one, was at my mom's house in Lake Leelanau, and we never got off the deck. Not the whole weekend. I think the thing that we figured out, is that we're our own best entertainment. Just give us some drinks and lots of snack foods, and we're good to go.
One too many Jello shots, and a good time was had by all.
That was our last Mother Daughter weekend, in the true sense of the word. Our last weekend was Labor Day weekend in 2004, and then things changed.
My aunt Carol, Kathleen's mom, had a stroke and passed away. How could this happen? How could we lose our Carol? Who else was going to help us complain about the Quinlan's?
Who'd be our own cheerleader? And tell us each how great we were in her own way, always loving but never smothering.
We thought those weekends were just to be bitter-sweet memories. But, my cousin Kathleen is pregnant now with her own child, and it was decided that we'd spend this weekend, honoring Kathleen, and the growing life that is inside of her.
This year, we've invited some new aunts, and a new cousin or two, and I'm sure it will be a great time.
But my heart will always be on that deck with a beer, a bag of chips, and hours of bonding with my family, who feels more like friends.
I'm sure Carol is watching, and enjoying our visits in her own way. She will be missed, and loved forever. The street savvy Aunt, (Sorry Mom and Carol), the quiet leader who said little, but saw everything.
We love you Carol.