We had actually hoped to go hiking that Friday, Marcellus's 4 month angel birthday. But the weather was cloudy with scattered rain in the forecast. We decided it was best to wait until Saturday when the forecast called for clear sunny skies. So on Friday we just went to explore downtown. We had no idea what we were doing. We didn't make a plan. That turned out to be a little frustrating and overwhelming. See we often have a hard time just trying to figure out what to do with ourselves when we have free time.
When we got to downtown we walked past the Colburn Earth Science Museum and decide to go in. It had lots of pretty rocks on display...minerals, stones, fossils, and gemstones. I've always been interested in that kind of stuff so it was neat to look around.
By the time we were done we were both super hungry. So we went to another vegetarian cafe downtown. We aren't specifically vegetarian, but do try to not eat too much meat. Plus there are so many good vegetarian and vegan options in Asheville. The food was delicious. I had a really good taco salad. I think it's the best one I've ever had.
We had a map with us that the B&B gave us. We saw a place labelled "The Chocolate Fetish" on there and you better believe we were checking it out! We did and we spent a lot of money on some very yummy chocolate truffles. Since we didn't plan our time downtown we didn't look up where some of the neat little shops or art galleries where. I guess we had thought we would just walk around and come across them. Well we didn't. Somehow it seemed like we were only walking past restaurants. We had a limited amount of time downtown because I had a massage scheduled for that evening. That's where the frustration and being overwhelmed started to kick in.
We did get to go into a few places. And I was really hoping to find something that would make me think of Marcellus. Nothing really stood out (or at least nothing that we could afford) so we headed back toward the car. We happened to walk by one last shop that looked intriguing, so pushed for time we decided to pop in anyway. And I found something! I found these funky coasters that had the perfect sayings on them. One of them says "A mother holds her child's hand for a short while and their hearts forever." And the other says, "love makes a family."
Purchasing the coasters caused us some stress though. Like I said we I had a massage scheduled and we were really pushing time. So while I waited to pay, Mike went to go get the car. I then go wait on the curb for him...waiting, waiting....waiting. He didn't bring his phone (we thought we'd be together the entire time), and I had our newly purchased GPS (who we have affectionately named Hilda) in my purse. He got a little lost coming back to get me. But we made it to the B&B just a minute or so late and I was able to get my massage...ah, relaxation.
We had originally planned on going out for dinner that night. So we showered and got ready. We then decided maybe we should call and see if they do reservations (and this was at 7pm, probably should have called a lot sooner...oops). Well the place we wanted to go to was booked until 1015pm. A little late for our liking. So we made a reservation for the next night...9pm at the bar. Still late, but we had heard great things about this restaurant and really wanted to try it. After getting ready and scrambling trying to figure out where to go we finally realized we didn't have to go anywhere. There was no rule stating that just because we're out of town we need to force ourselves to go sit at some fancy restaurant when we are exhausted and had a busy day. So we got take out and watched a movie.
Saturday started out with another fancy breakfast, although our favorite was Fridays breakfast. There were a lot more people there on Saturday morning. The big main table was full and they had a few little tables as well. Mike and I sat ourselves at a little table so we didn't have to try and force awkward conversation with strangers.
I was excited for Saturday. The weather was gorgeous and we were going hiking! We drove up to Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi - elevation 6,684 feet. The view was gorgeous and the skies were very clear. I read that 8 out of 10 days it's cloudy/foggy up there, but for us it was clear. We then did some hiking. We went on a path that said "very strenuous" and they meant that. But we enjoyed it. There were other people out hiking, but it wasn't crazy busy or anything. The air was calm and fresh, the trees smelled great. It was peaceful. We talked a lot about Marcellus and about our lives.
I was thankful to be there with Mike. To experience nature like that. But every now and then I'd all of a sudden say "I don't want to be here!" Because we shouldn't have been there. We should have been spending our spring breaks at home with our 4 month old baby. Getting in some quality family time while neither Mommy or Daddy had to worry about what was going on with school. I envisioned the 3 of us on the couch all snuggled up. I continued to go back and forth like that through the hike. Enjoying it one moment and hating it the next.
At one point I got the idea to get a rock for Marcellus's spot in MN (I decided I hate the word grave, so it is "his spot". Although just now I decided I don't like "spot"....maybe "place". I'll have to work on that). And we found one. It's nothing fancy, but has some color to it. I actually got excited about finding him a rock. I felt like I was doing something for him. Mommy and Daddy were getting him a memento from our trip. Then reality hit me. It happens like that a lot. I'll be doing something for Marcellus or thinking about him in a way that makes me feel like any other mom. But then I'll snap out of it and the harshness of reality is waiting there for me. This time I went from excited to find a rock for Marcellus to the thought of "You just picked up a rock to put at your son's GRAVE!" And yes, I just said I hate the word grave, but that's how a thought it. No longer feeling like just any other mom, we had to stop, sit, and cry a bit. Because I'm not just like any other mom. Yes I am a mom, but my baby is not here. I don't gather mementos to give to my child or display in his room, I gather them for his grave. His final resting spot. The place where only his body lies.
|Our picnic basket included fruit, cheese and crackers, rolls, rotisserie chicken, mini creme puffs and eclairs, and sparkling apple cider. It was all very good!|
|Marcellus Bear enjoying the view!|
Someone we timed it just right to be at the waterfall by ourselves. On the way there we passed about 4 groups of people leaving and on the way back we passed 2 couples on their way to the waterfall. We stay for 45min to an hour, just us. It was beautiful. I sat and wrote to Marcellus in his journal. We took pictures. We yelled at the waterfall how much we love and miss Marcellus. It was emotional, but good to be there.
On the way back to our car we had to go uphill. There were spots where steps were made into the path. I mentioned how these were some really big steps. And Mike said, "this whole trip is really big steps." We talked about all the things we were doing. Just getting out of our comfort zones, leaving the dog, staying at a B&B, eating breakfast with strangers, doing something for ourselves, actually trying to enjoy ourselves, going out for dinner. These might not seem like big things, but for us Mike was right. The whole trip was big steps!
Saturday night we did get to that restaurant we wanted to go to. It's a Spanish tapas place. We had to sit at the bar because they were so busy, but it was good we did. We had our backs to the hustle bustle of the restaurant and were able to watch the chefs make the food. Their kitchen is behind the bar. We had some more wonderful food and good conversation. Of course Marcellus was included in our conversation, but I think we managed to talk about him just as any parents would mention their children while out to dinner without them. Saturday was my favorite day in Asheville. I feel like we accomplished a lot.
|Marcellus at Mount Craig, the second highest point east of the Mississippi.|
|Marcellus at Crabtree Waterfall|
Marcellus, first of all thanks for keeping Mommy from falling flat on my face. Daddy and I did enjoy our time in Asheville, but you were always on our minds. Although it was beautiful and we had a good time, we would have much rather been sitting at home changing your poopy diapers. As always I know you were with us. That's why I wanted to take pictures with you "in them." So that everyone else can think of how you are always with us too. I love and miss you sweet boy! xoxox.