May kicked off with a really fun event that Trent participated in with his F3 friends called Waxhaw Trail Fest. This was the inaugural event and was set up in a relay format. Trent ran about 15 miles combined that morning. Great job, sweetie!
Brayden and Cora spent an afternoon hanging out together. So awesome to see their friendship continue after having met all the way back in kindergarten. We spent an afternoon at Kyle’s house for a cookout and had an absolute blast. Trent turned 47 and we celebrated him by meeting my brother for lunch at Brewers at 4001 Yancey and played a mean game of Lolz. I’m sure every one of the restaurant was looking at us like we were crazy! That afternoon, we went to the “new” Ballantyne Park (which is basically the closed down golf course) and enjoyed some family time hanging out and watching the kids be silly. We actually stumbled upon a monthly festival, called “Markets at 11”, that had just kicked off that day. There were food trucks, a band, and vendors selling their wares. We are looking forward to going back soon. That evening, the Whitcombs and Farrells met us out for a surprise dinner at Zinicola, followed by drinks at Grape & Agave. We had an awesome evening!
For Mother’s Day, we met up with my mom and Trent’s parents at Legion Brewery for a delicious brunch. The weather was perfect and it’s so nice to be outside in public with other people. Such a welcome change from a year ago! Hanleigh and Trent had their Y Guides monthly get together, I had dinner with Kendall at Emmett’s, and the girls continued their weekly gymnastics. They are both progressing very well in terms of doing handsprings and tucks.
Hanleigh and Trent spent a weekend at Camp Thunderbird for what would be her final Y Guides longhouse. She did zip lines, rode horses and the banana boat, climbed trees, and participated in the final ceremony ritual. I hope their tribe continues to hang out together because they’ve each gotten to meet new friends over the years. While they were there having a great time, Brayden and I enjoyed some quality time together as well. We met Kyle and Cooper at the Whitewater Center one afternoon where we mostly just hung out and had lunch. The kids did an obstacle course and Kyle, Cooper, and I did the 30-ft jump. It was more or less a chill-out kind of day and that was fine by us. That evening, I took Brayden to Little Mama’s, where we dined at the mozzarella bar. I had been telling her about this restaurant for a while and was stoked that the two of us could have a nice evening together. We shared the stracciatella with lemon zest, pistachio, and olive oil. She said it was the best mozzarella she had ever had. I agree! We had some amazing wagyu-pork meatballs and took a slice of Nutella pie home for dessert while we did some binge-watching of trashy reality TV shows! We wrapped up the weekend with an awesome visit to see GG and Dadaw. This was the first time I had hugged her in over a year and I got teary-eyed while doing so. I think we were holding each other for a solid 30 seconds. It meant so much to me. It’s hard to put into words the feelings that I had: gratitude, love, happiness, relief, comfort, etc.
On May 17th, I opted not to take a class at the YMCA with a substitute teacher and instead take my 17-mile bike ride that I do every Sunday. About one mile away from home, I went around two walkers on the sidewalk to avoid them and must have overcorrected my steering, at which point I went off the sidewalk and onto the street and crashed. I was going about 16 mph downhill and thank goodness I was wearing my helmet. When I crashed, my head hit the pavement and my body continued to skid across Ballantyne Commons. I realized I was in the middle of the street so I scooted myself quickly into the grass, took a couple of deep breaths, and gathered myself before looking at my wounds. The two nice ladies came over to check on me and make sure I was okay. The entire right side of my body was really banged up, gashed, and bloody. Probably not the best idea, but I did ride my bike home, gears all jacked up and everything. I’m stubborn. Up until this point, I hadn’t broken down, but the minute I walked inside and saw Trent, I lost it…and cried non-stop for about the next 36 hours. Not exaggerating. I thought it was because of how thankful I was to be alive (and because I was in serious pain) and that there was no traffic in the street when I ran off the curb. I went to the doctor the next day and, as it turned out (not to my surprise), I had a mild concussion. Apparently, being overly emotional is a side effect of having a concussion. Who knew? Three weeks later and I am still tending to my wounds, but I am healing. It was probably one of the scariest experiences of my life and I’m so grateful it didn’t turn out any worse.
Brayden is very interested in playing field hockey at her new high school and they mean business. The coach hosted a Zoom call for anyone who was interested in trying out in August. Practices will begin at 6:00 a.m. and unfortunately, Brayden will have to miss our annual family beach trip as a result. On the bright side, she is extremely dedicated to this and really looking forward to tryouts and being on the team. There are plenty of optional practices before tryouts and so far, she’s taken advantage of all of them. They even have to run an eight-minute mile to make it on the team. Brayden enjoyed a pool party at the Miller’s house and took a quick day trip to Isle of Palms with Annie and her family. While she was there, Hanleigh was at a friend’s house, and Trent and I had an awesome date day and evening. We went to a local tent sale, had lunch and a cocktail at Selwyn Pub, and later that evening had dinner at Dilworth Tasting Room in Southpark. The next day, we spent the morning and afternoon at the final field hockey tournament of the season. Brayden’s assertiveness on the field has really shined through as the season progressed.
The next week was the last week of school, which basically means the kids are there in person and all bets are off in terms of real learning. Laptops are turned in (as are textbooks) and teachers use this time to spend with the kids as well as put them to work in helping to clean their classrooms. Brayden wrapped the week up with a pool party at Maisie’s house. Her social circle has definitely grown and she surrounds herself with really good friends.
Brayden officially graduated (or was “promoted”, as they say) middle school, which is incredibly hard to believe considering how quickly the time has gone by. I know that is extremely cliche and not something you really understand until you are a parent, but it really feels like yesterday when she was learning to crawl, speak, and ride around in a little play car…and now here we are with her having just four years left before she goes to college. Time slow down!!! Even though the kids have been back to school in person for a few weeks, the graduation ceremony still erred on the conservative side and was offered in a drive-thru type format. I do have to say that they did a fabulous job considering the circumstances. Each team had a certain time slot to drive through and pick up their promotion certificates. The school created a 20-minute YouTube audio piece that we played when we entered the school grounds. It was very inspiring and I encourage you to listen to it at the link below. Of course, I was in the backseat getting totally choked up. Trent, Hanleigh, and I had each created a sign for her (“Way to go, Brayden”, “Congraduation, Brayden”, and “Who’s a Freshman? This girl! AK-bound”) and put them up in the car. She fought us tooth and nail before we drove to the school because she did not want any embarrassing signs. We told her that everyone else was decorating their cars as well and were pretty emphatic about keeping them on display (as we found out, our car was not nearly as bedazzled as most, so the embarrassment factor quickly fizzled out). As we rode through the car line, we approached her teachers, who were cheering her on and shouting out how much they would miss her. She was smiling from ear to ear and I know we both felt like really proud parents. It’s so crazy to close a chapter on this phase of her life. My mind is blown, but my heart is so incredibly full of happiness and excitement for the next chapter and adventure in her life!!! That evening, we celebrated the accomplishment with some of her best friends (Emory, Melanie, Sejal) and their parents at Margaux’s. It was delicious and the company was awesome! We capped off the night with ice cream at Andy’s.
The next day, we went to the Whitewater Center for another chilled out day of relaxing. Sometimes, those are exactly what is needed. On Sunday, we met Dad & Christel for lunch at Southbound (it was so great to see them!) and that evening, Brayden went to Blakeney with her friends. We capped off the Memorial Day holiday at our neighbors’ annual (with the exception of last year) pool party. I think everyone was itching to get out and be together, so there were quite a bit of people there and it was so awesome to catch up with our fabulous neighbors. We are so lucky to live in such an amazing neighborhood!!!