My niece curled up and slept with me the night I arrived.
My sister got up at the crack of dawn to make sure that we were all fortified for that departure morning with freshly baked monkey bread and a pound of bacon.
My niece wanted to share every one of her favorite things with me while I was visiting, and had an itinerary for us that was planned down to the minute. But she immediately changed it to make time for a stop at a Hallmark store so the three of us could send the girls a funny card a few hours after they left.
My sister assured me calmly that the tornado warnings coming from the radio as the rain poured down and thunder crashed in the distance almost certainly did not pertain to the route that the camp buses were taking*.
My niece chose to sit on my lap on the shuttle bus** from church. Mom had to go solo.
My sister drove like a maniac (but in a safe way) after dinner at a friend's house, just to make sure that I had a chance to try the best ice cream in America***. We pulled into the lot of Maggie Moo's at one minute before closing time. Not only was the ice cream incredible, it was just what the doctor ordered, as the monkey bread and bacon had worn off.
Cinnamon (on bottom) and Espresso Bean (on top)
My niece believes in fairies. My sister had planned an expedition for my visit that gave her a fantastic reason for doing so.
Below are a few of the fairy doors we discovered in downtown Ann Arbor, thanks to my sister's intrepid research and my niece's eagle eyes. The leprechaun house at the top is a secret one that only my sister knew about.
And my niece said quietly, "I'm too sad to eat."
I rest my case. Saying goodbye to someone you love is the worst feeling in the world*****.
* They did pertain to the route we were taking, but that didn't bother me nearly as much.
** We collectively decided that if the girls were on a bus, we would take the bus, too. We pretended to wave at our crying parents as we left the church's overflow parking lot. It was actually pretty cathartic for me.
*** Don't take our word for it...they've won that exact award nine years running!
**** She had instructed her mom to take the "most traffic-y way" to increase the odds of my missing the flight.
***** But saying hello is fantastic. And I get to say hello to both of them in August.