Have We Lost Our Minds?
Pregnant with our fourth child, my husband has a moment of inspiration and suggests a cross-country family trip during maternity leave.
George does not race anywhere with eyes on the destination. He indulges in the journey. The process of finding your outcome. He chose 'Vacilando' as the name of our boat from John Steinbeck's use of the Spanish word in Travels with Charley. I have never come across a more perfect word to describe the man I married. From always taking new ways to everyday landmarks to the journey of completing projects around the house.
George is a traveler, I married a traveler, we made children that are travelers. This trip in a way is natural for us. Many think we are crazy and I do not deny their sentiments at all. It is crazy to take four young children in a suburban on a car ride that lasts weeks. It is also our life, a life of traveling. Traveling to work, school, museums, Craigslist finds, visit family, beaches, mountains, and days of unending errands. These children roll with the flow. Sometimes better than others but I feel this journey will find us stronger on the flip side.
The departure day arrives! Baby is fussy most of the night. Awesome. Hop in the shower and a realize that I am at peace. At peace with the trip, all we have prepared, and all that we will do. I know that God has our back in this crazy life. I get a few minutes to myself then Biscuits saunters in and asks if she can watch. You see nobody tells you that becoming a mother means automatically becoming an exhibitionist. Then Bubble joins her to watch mommy wash her face. That is when George brings me Brogden. Since I cannot remember the last time he was bathed, I asked if George would wait a bit for the baby to join me.
I clean the baby, George takes him to dry and dress, finish the shower, dry and dress myself, and look at the clock in time to panic. I yell for everyone to start getting in the car or we will be late to Brogden's morning appointment. I hear George faintly say something that I cannot believe. The exterminator is here. What?!?!? They were supposed to come around 10:00am not 8:30 when we have a 8:45 appt then followed by a 9:10 appt. I race out to light a fire under my precious wanders and I find one still asleep in the bed. (Hello preview of teen years) Get the girls out the door only to realize that I am holding the baby and did not grab the infant seat. George heads back in for the seat and to tell the exterminator how to lock up. I am sure that guy thought we were nuts.
I get in the Jeep to follow so I can head to my six week appointment and the four wheel drive is on from George moving the boat. Waved my arms. He drove away. Tried to call him. Phone left inside. Called my dad. He had no clue. Called baby brother. To the rescue again. Talked me through getting into two wheel drive. Called the pediatric office to tell them we were running a little behind. Appointment with nurse could not have gone smoother. Baby gained two pounds in two weeks and got two shots like a champ.
Brogden gets back in the seat to head to my check up. I never pumped milk to allow for him to stay with George. So we race to my appt which was scheduled 25 minutes after his appt. All lights, roads, traffic jams, and parking spots were in our favor and we made it to my OB on time. I had some breathing time and got to visit with all the sweet folks at my doctor's office before heading back home to finish the packing and rolling out.
The girls were amazingly helpful carrying bags out for George to purposefully place in the suburban. Tiny decided to gather all her special things (sleeping stuffed animals and blanket) and sit in her car seat until go time.
We pulled out at 12:54 pm, bearly achieving the self-imposed deadline of 1:00 pm. Hit the road. To run last minute errands. Off to return the wrong Rain-X to Walmart, mail thank you notes and purchase post card stamps at the post office, deposit funds at the bank, and make a pick up from George's doctor and schedule a physical for when we return.
It was at the post office that the girls started asking for food. At first I was thinking already?!?! Then I realized they never ate breakfast in the rush to leave this morning or ate lunch in the attempt to keep the house clean before we left. I feel slightly bad as a mother and start to peel cuties for the cuties in the car. After a conference with George, we determine the best course of action is to pick up a bakers' dozen bagels from Brueggers and add it to the road snack stash.
A reset of the tripmeter to take out all the Raleigh errand miles and we hit 40 Westbound..... around 2:30 pm. We updated our friends in Atlanta that we were heading to that we got started later. I start to pass out bagels/cream cheese to the hungry passengers, which they gobble up as fast as I can smear the strawberry goodness.
Made it to South Carolina uneventfully, huge blessing considering some of the rain and traffic we encountered. We timed hitting the Charlotte after work congestion perfectly to catch most of it. ;) But for real, it wasn't as bad as it could have been with the direction we were going.
I passed out 2 pounds of apples, 3 oranges, 2 more bagels, almonds all around before it dawned on me that actual dinner might be due. If you have never heard me promote the Chick-fil-a One app, you are missing out. I was able to locate, order, and pay for a family meal from the backseat riding down I-85S. George was even a lucky recipient of a free peach milkshake from my rewards.
The Duncan, SC location offered curbside pick up which entails our black SUV sitting in the marked parking spot for the dinner fairy to fly out with hot food, literally 3 minutes after placing the car in park. The entire stop added 5 minutes to our arrival time.
Now onto doling out sustainance without creating a mess for myself later. Girls all chose their regular applesauce and nuggets which they had to consume first before they got their milk. They were prepped for not being allowed ketchup and honey for dipping. Could you imagine that potential catastrophe? Once I got all trash back then they were able to have their prepared milk to drink.
Our timing has worked so far and I hope that it continues. I am reminded that we are not alone on this trip when crossing the state line into Georgia this view pops up. I snap a picture while singing Corey Smith lyrics in my head.
Traveling with young children is different than driving to spring break with your college buddies. It is a race to get to Florida beaches, stopping only when restroom breaks are required. George sets a timer for break reminders every two hours. Allowing 10-15 minutes worth of stretch, nursing, and potty breaks. For this first day of travel, they have lined up with our state line pictures, very handy.
Make it into Atlanta at a time when traffic is not an issue and we can focus on finding our way. Our hosts for the first two night of this journey are kind to allow for this family of six to descend upon them at such a late hour, around 10:45 pm. Our friends stayed up to greet us and gently introduce the girls to their German Shepherd puppy. The elders had their beds made and were encouraged to select a few stuffed animals to make their space extra cozy. The adults took time to catch up on life since we last visited with them and make a few plans for the next day. We all fell fast asleep in the most comfy bed. I was personally so relieved to have one day down.
Steps taken: 7,452
Miles driven: 433.7