Schlabor Day, As We Know It Now.

(Photo from 2010; ‘Chelle & Paula’s toes)

Several years ago, my little mama decided that we should begin going to the beach every Labor Day…just our little clan of folks. Dad and Mom; my brother and his fam; me and my fam. Oh the fun we have had throughout the years on these little excursions. Doin’ our thang which always included laughter, food, being ridiculously loud and crazy and then more laughter. It’s pretty safe to say we put the fun in disfunction during these long weekends; as we clearly do in any occasion.

We immediately began calling it Schlabor Day, to honor our family namesake; Schlehmeier. It was a time we all looked forward to and planned for months in advance. Around March, or sometimes the week we got home, Mom would make reservations for a huge house that would fit our motley crew. We stayed at various locations during the years, but always there was a separate bedroom for each married couple, always a kitchen big enough to hold the amount of food it would take to feed a group 67.9 times larger than what was actually there, relatively easy beach access, balconies for cigars and enjoying the beach breeze and plenty of lounging space inside…cuz that is what we do…we lounge. Around 6 weeks before the weekend arrived, my little mama would start emailing me and my partner in crime about meal plans; cuz I swear to God, what is a beach trip without good food, right? The three ladies would all have one supper meal and would all have one breakfast meal. We never had to plan lunches because there was always so many leftovers or junk food, no one needed lunch planned because food was just there if you wanted something. It eventually evolved to include one big outing where the men could drink beer and eat oysters.

Approximately one million pictures were taken throughout these long weekends each year; we wanted the weekends to be in our minds forever and we wanted these little nuggets to be available for remembering each amazing moment! In 2011 was the first actual family beach picture we took. It was always Mom’s favorite. She had every single one of her little chicks in the picture and she loved it for years to come.

(Photo from 2011)

Below, random pictures that commemorate some of the craziness and the fun-loving nature of our clan. I’m not certain where all of the craziness comes from, I’m just very proud that it’s there. We ain’t boring people. It doesn’t even take alcohol to make us crazy, it’s just already there. Ha! But I tried to find just one picture from each Schlabor Day we spent together; some I chose two or three. But enjoy as you scroll. I enjoyed walking through memory lane as I reviewed pics to choose the ones I would upload. A few tears but of course a few chuckles as I remembered.

(Photo from 2012)

(Photo from 2012)

(Photo from 2013)

2013 was another year my little Mama had every one of her little chicks right where she wanted them…together.

(Photo from 2014)

The T-shirts, you’ll notice, are air-brushed creations designed by the famous air brush duo…’Chelle & Paula. For a small nominal fee, they can design your family’s next T also. Ha!

(Photo from 2015)

(Photo from 2016)

Did I say there were always shenanigans?

(Photo from 2017)

Then enters Schlabor Day, 2017. There were still shenanigans, laughter, food, love and more laughter. But there was also some hidden tears, some hidden heart ache, some hidden dread. We knew that one of our precious group would most likely not be with us for another Schlabor Day. Man, when I say we did this year up right, we did it up right.

(Photo from 2017)

‘Chelle found us a house directly on the beach with tons of space, a huge balcony directly overlooking a breathtaking view of this beauty that had been so much a part of our lives since we were babies. For the first time in a couple of years, Mom was able to sit and just soak in the beauty. For the last couple of Schlabor Days, she wasn’t able to get out onto the beach or walk very close due to her knees giving her so much trouble. But this year she soaked it up for hours on the balcony because she knew it was her last time, her last opportunity.

(Photo from 2017)

We all loved a little deeper, laughed a little harder, savored the moments a little more intently because of the cloud that hung over us. We knew time was limited. We lived life differently now.

(Photo from 2017)

This was the final Schlabor Day pic with my little mama included. She loved this little group of people more than I can even begin to explain. Her goal in life was to see her family be together, stay together, stick up for each other and accept each other no matter how stupid or ridiculous we might be acting at the moment. She loved those grands fiercely and you needn’t try to deter that. If she wanted to buy them something, you could hang it up, cuz it was bought. If she wanted to take them somewhere or be somewhere they were, you could hang it up, cuz she was there. She loved fiercely.

This Schlabor Day, Schlabor Day 2018, has been with family, with laughter, with lots of food but with hearts that are still a little lost, still trying to figure out our normal and still asking “who the hell are we exactly right now”. We still shared the weekend together as she would have wanted but we just couldn’t pull off the beach trip. I’m certain that plans would have needed to be made back during the months when we were still floundering from the gravity of the loss of her and we just couldn’t wrap our minds around planning a beach trip when we didn’t know if we wanted to keep living ourselves much less plan a beach trip.

Next year may be different. Who knows? All I know is that grief still sucks us down fiercely at times; demands that we choke on the waters of despair while gasping for precious air. Precious air that one day will be ours again. I do notice moments now when I am allowed to breathe in the fresh air of contentment; moments that do not have that nagging hint of despair and loss. It still presents itself often, but I see hints of contentment now. The feeling that everything-is-okay is ever so slowly coming back. I will never not miss my little mama. I will never not wish we could have her healthy self back with us to spend the rest of our lives with us. But everything is going to be okay one day. One day.

I’m pretty certain she would be fairly content with how we spent Schlabor Day 2018. Pretty content with the fact that we still chose to spend it together, feasted together, gained a few Schlabor Day pounds as usual and just loved on each other. Maybe we will take Schlabor Day back on the road for 2019. We’ll see.

Sipping coffee this morning and thinking about a little mama that loved fiercely; and wanting to be just like her when I grow up. ~paula

 

Published by

iheartsw1999

I only know how to tell you about me by telling you the things that I love, enjoy and can't seem to get enough of. I love worshiping Jesus by serving on the praise team at our church. My mama taught me the love of music and I intend to carry out that life until God says that's enough. My next love is my family; nothing better than time spent with the folks I call mine. My favorite place on this earth and where I can hear "me" best is a good ol', white sanded beach where the waves crash out every distraction; leaving only thoughts that are my own. I have other loves, but these are a great beginning. Maybe you'll learn more while you share a cup of Coffee with Paula. (See what I did there? Ha!)

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