Brenton absolutely adores his GiGi. She has a special place in his heart and not only because she lets him eat cookies for breakfast. He asks where she is almost every day and we responded for a long time by saying she was at her house. This was insufficient for Brenton, so GiGi explained during one of her visits that she lives in north Carolina on a river called the Neuse.
One morning GiGi explained it and asked where do I live? And he responded “Neuse”. It was quite spectacular to all of us and he just loves it when we ask “Where is GiGi?” and he responds Neuse.
At some point I was called to go to work in Charlotte for a 4 day training session, so we decided to make it a family affair and then head out to visit Papa and GiGi on the Neuse. For weeks we told Brenton he was going and he was filled with excitement for the journey. I explained he had been there before when he was about Emerson’s age and showed him a few pictures.
When we got into the car to drive all the way to Charlotte the very first thing Brenton said was “Papa GiGi Neuse”. This would become his mantra for the journey and we would respond yes each time he said it. He was thrilled. We had to explain that Charlotte was first, but he didn’t care. He was headed to the Neuse.
In Charlotte, my parents joined us and I went to work and the rest of the family went to different attractions around the city. First was the Discovery place where Brenton got a dinosaur sword that lit up. He watched a science experiment presentation and even sat still the whole time. He was enthralled. Even Emerson was intrigued and was good the whole time or so I heard and saw from pictures and video shared with me later in the day.
Then it was the NASCAAR Hall of Fame! Oh this was a place where even Rolston was able to have fun. I have a picture next to his bed from our first time in Charlotte. Brenton in his infant seat and Rolston with a huge smile at the NASCAAR Hall of Fame. This time Brenton could enjoy it while Emerson was in the infant seat. In a few years we will have to return so everyone can enjoy it. The pictures this time were priceless. Fun was had by all while I was at work.
Then work was done and after swimming in the hotel pool and eating lots of pancakes from the free hot breakfast each morning it was really time. We were headed to the Neuse.
When we arrived it was as if I had arrived home. Brenton felt it too. He was calm and it seemed as if he was comfortable immediately. Even Emerson who had never seen the house on the Neuse was relaxed. Papa and GiGi got Emerson his very own jumperoo. He was spoiled from the moment he arrived and so was Brenton. We all were. I think the reason we all felt so at home is because the house is so my mom in the decorating scheme. It just feels like GiGi’s home.
Family dinners and relaxation and lots and lots of play time and hugs were the plans for each day. I was on vacation after all so I deserved the break from the routine. Admittedly I slept quite a bit on the Neuse. It was luxurious and so warm and comfortable.
We did have a few high points of the visit. The boat. My father has had so many boats and going out on the new boat was so much fun for Brenton. He even got a turn to take the wheel. The bike. My mother got a new bike and there is a basket on the back perfect for a small boy to fit right in. The beach. My parents have a small beach across from the house right on the river. It is perfect for a small boy to dig in the sand and wade and swim in the water.
There were other things too. The dinner with my parents friends for burgers at the Toucan. The fallen chocolate cake that we all could not get enough of. The coins Brenton hid in every possible cushion on the couch and in his hands and in jars and glasses and under the coffee table. The trundle bed where Brenton slept in a real bed for the first time on his own. Mornings spent with GiGi making “taff” which is his word for coffee. Emerson trying sweet potatoes. It was all splendid.
We got in the car on Wednesday morning in the pouring rain and said good bye to Papa and GiGi and the Neuse. As we rounded the corner the rain tapered off. The sky was only crying at their house. We would miss it, but we will be back. The plan is to return in April. Brenton will be so happy to be back there...on the Neuse.