Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Family Time

by Maggie Sefton




Sunday night I returned from a fast-paced, action-packed four and one-half day trip to Florida for the very last NASA launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. I want to include some photos from that trip, so I'll wait until next Tuesday to go into specifics. I can say this, though. . .it was FABULOUS! I was thrilled and moved by the experience---not only the launch, but also the special NASA tour we took the next day.



But the Florida trip also offered our family a chance to gather together for the first time in ten years. Yes, it's been ten years since we got EVERYONE together for any occasion---holidays, graduations, whatever. The main reason we haven't been able to gather mom, dad, daughters Serena, Christine, Melissa, and Maria together in so long was the youngest, Maria, was an officer in the US Navy for nine of those ten years. Except for short assignments for specialized courses or training, she was assigned abroad----serving aboard the USS KITTY HAWK aircraft carrier in the Pacific for two years at the start of her career, then Japan, Iraq and other Middle East locations, then Germany. Whenever she had a chance to come stateside, it didn't coincide with an opportunity for the clan to gather. Until now.



And was it fun to have everyone together in one place again, laughing, all talking at the same time, and sharing this very special experience Serena was able to arrange for us. All of the astronaut family guests stayed at the same large hotel complex which made it easy to gather with others for dinners and lounging at the pool after hours. Florida did not disappoint and provided hot and humid July weather. :)



But the best weather of all was the surprise on Friday morning when Atlantis was able to launch after two days of weather warnings. What a treat!


Will you be getting together for any family gatherings this summer?

17 comments:

Natasha said...

I am so glad you got to spend time with your whole family, it's a mother's blessing.

Gage would have killed to go on a special NASA tour. That is just awesome.

Also, I want to congratulate you on your new book and making the New York Times Best sellers list. YAY!

Natasha - From Fort Collins

Heather said...

I'm glad the weather cooperated for the final shuttle launch, and that you had such a wonderful time with your family.

Dru said...

I think it was great that your family was able to get together.

Mine family is hard to get together since we live in three different states and the timing never works out.

KeLLy aNN said...

Just like my Turkish family. It's been waaaaay too long.
How wonderful your trip was!

Rita B said...

We will be seeing our son and family on 7/22-7/25. Daughter and family 8/19-8/28. The difference being...son 3hrs away, daughter 15hrs away. So very hard to get us all together. Between jobs and miles and money it's tuff. So that means, I am really happy for you and your family's chance to be together....at the same time even:^)

Linda McDonald said...

I watched the launch live on tv last Friday morning and I thought of you Maggie (and your family) and was so happy for you to be there to watch it live. What an incredible memory you will have of that day.

And how wonderful that your whole family could be there!

This weekend we are having a summer family get together at my sister's house. :)

Aurian said...

What a lovely week you have had, seeing all your family at the same place and same time.
Looking forward to the other blogpost with the pictures!

My aunt and uncle will be 125 years (60 and 65 I guess) and are celebrating that big this friday. I guess I will see most my family there. No idea what to buy as a gift though...

Terri Bischoff said...

This year I will have the opportunity to see all of my immediate family and extended family. First, my mom turns 60 the end of July and is having a huge party. Then on October 1st, one of my cousins is getting married. I can't wait for both events!!

Vicki said...

I thought I was going to be able to watch the launch, but my hubby had a drs. appt. Friday morning so we missed it. Very bummed about it. We did watch it on the tv in the waiting room, though that's not the same.

Maggie Sefton said...

Natasha---It's SO good to hear from you. Is your knitting group still getting together at Racquel's house every month? I'd love to come.

Maggie Sefton said...

Thanks, Heather.

Dru--That's the same with our family. We're all in different states. At least two girls, oldest Christine & youngest Maria, are now in Northern VA.

Maggie Sefton said...

keLLy aNN---Wow. . .Turkey is a lot farther away. Has it been long since you've visited?

RitaB---I know what you mean. Even if it's only hours away driving or miles and miles by flying---it's still a long way away and keeps people apart.

Maggie Sefton said...

Linda McD---How wonderful that you can all get together. Enjoy!

Aurian---Now, that sounds like a great birthday party! For both grandparents, yet! You'll have a great time.

Maggie Sefton said...

Hey, Terri---That sounds like a busy summer of family and fun get togethers. You'll have a great time. BTW---I sent an email to you this afternoon. Sorry it was late.

Maggie Sefton said...

Vicki---You might be able to find the footage on your local tv news website. Check it out. I bet you can find it.

Sarita said...

I just returned from visiting family in Florida. It was gorgeous and very relaxing.

Maggie Sefton said...

I agree, Sarita. The weather was hot and humid and mostly sunny with fierce afternoon showers. Typical Florida summer weather. Our family used to vacation regularly in Florida during the summer. All six of us would drive in the old family station wagon, the vans of the day, from Indiana (where Purdue Univ is located) all the way to south Florida. Miami Beach area for years, then we headed to the West Coast and loved Sanibel. Tropical and gentler waters for little kids. And big kids, too. :)