Jackson Wiley Sawyer on the way to Cracker Barrel | Zach DotseyLast night Amanda fell asleep on Andra and Josh’s couch. I fell asleep on the recliner, but not before Jackson fell asleep on the other chair. I picked him up and put him in the recliner with me and he stayed there all night. He didn’t even kick or fidget all that much!

This morning Andra left to take care of some things and Josh was mowing while Amanda and I looked after our nephew. Aunt Robbie called from her hotel and asked if we’d like to join her for some breakfast at Cracker Barrel, so we did after getting directions from Josh. That place was packed!

After breakfast we went up to Aunt Robbie’s hotel room for a few minutes. We’d gotten a call from Mom and Dad who said they were not too far, so we thought it’d be nice to wait and see them. However, we then got kind of rushed when Andra called and told us she wanted to be ready to leave a bit earlier than we’d expected, so we grabbed Jackson and started on out the hotel. As fate would have it, we got in the elevator and who do we see as soon as the doors open on the ground floor but Jerry and Rhonda Dotsey! (That would be my parents, for those not following.)

Of course they were excited to see Jackson and some odd chaos ensued where elevator doors opened and closed and tried to take luggage that didn’t want to go upstairs and such. It was a mess. Eventually we convinced Mom and Dad that we had to get going, and on the way out to the car Dad went and got a woven hat full of car toys he’d gotten somewhere for Jackson. Later, when we were on the way to Andra’s graduation at UNC-Charlotte, Adam, Renee, Amanda and I were kissing the cars goodnight for Jackson, or something of the sort.

We got back to Andra and Josh’s and took showers. Andra rode with us over to Paige’s house (that’s Josh’s mom) where we met up with Adam and Renee and some of Josh’s family. Andra rode with Josh and his dad to UNC-Charlotte while we followed behind them with Adam, Renee and Jackson. We got separated during parking as they were told to go one way and we were told to go another way, but as fate would have it I saw Mom, Dad and Aunt Robbie at the first upward turn in the parking deck. They moved a cone for us and got us a great parking spot.

Andra Dotsey's graduation from UNC-Charlotte | Zach DotseyIt was raining just a little bit at this point. Everyone all met up together, including Josh’s family and the addition of Aunt Reggie. We meandered along, finally ushering everyone inside where we got some nice high and far-off seats. My cousin David Cherryholmes and his legal wife (I saw that because they were married for her greencard, but plan on having a real ceremony later this year) Xusha (she’s Russian and that’s a nickname for Axana, if I remember correctly) found us and the commencement ceremony was underway. It wasn’t a terribly long one either. Somehow, with all the strange foreign names that I assume the reader got right, they mangled Andra’s name horribly. It was something like Ahn-drah Dote-say. Really, it’s not that hard. ANDRA DOTSEY. Say it like it’s spelled. Maybe the sheer number of foreign students made the reader-lady inclined to give extra emphasis and inflection.

We were going to have a reception outside at a park, but unfortunately the rain hadn’t let up much. It wasn’t pouring, but it wasn’t nice out either. In light of that, we were having it at the church where Josh’s dad is a preacher. We went back to Andra and Josh’s to change then headed on over to the church. They had BBQ and some brownies, soft drinks and lots of cake. There was a cake for Andra’s graduation, a cake for Amanda’s birthday and a cake for Renee’s birthday (which is tomorrow). We all had a good time just sitting around and socializing. Mom and Dad gave us a “late housewarming gift” in the form of a nice check and told us that we didn’t have to send them any more money every month. Each month I automatically set a check to go out not only to pay back the TV and computer I bought on a credit card of my dad’s, but also for money from college and the like. I intended to just send it out forever, but they said not to worry about it anymore.

On the way back from the church we stopped at a Wal-Mart to get some gas. Amanda went to pay and there was a bit of a holdup as the person at the counter was ignoring people to talk to an off-duty employee about non-work-related things. I asked Jackson if I should wait for Amanda or leave her and he got very defensive for her!

We got back to the house where Andra spent a few minutes talking to some friends of hers down the street. Mom, Dad and Aunt Robbie came by to visit for a bit, but they eventually went on back to the hotel.

Andra and Josh pulled out Cranium after a bit. Cranium is a game where you have to do all sorts of things- act out characters, hum songs, answer questions, spell things correctly, make things out of putty and more, to go advance around a board. Andra and Josh were undefeated against their neighbors who owned the game. (They’d played it once.) Amanda and I took their crown and beat them three times. The first two times we finished when they were about halfway around the board. It was a lot of fun.

Zach Dotsey