Monday, April 18, 2011

Some lessons from the trip

Usually when we go on a long road trip, we have "surprise time." This was one of my mother's greatest contributions to society (besides us, her musical talents, her sewing talent, her love of learning, her cinnamon rolls, and her high pitched crying/laugh) thus far. Every couple hours along the way she would say, "It's SURPRISE TIME!" and out would come new little toys/activities for us. We loved it. So it has been fun to share this tradition with my children.

But this trip, I just wasn't feeling it. Maybe it was the somber occasion, maybe it was that I was tired, but the reason I gave them was, "I walked into Target, looked around, and realized you HAVE EVERYTHING ALREADY. So I walked out." They were indignant, "We don't have EVERYTHING." Let me clarify: you have everything that can fit in our house. The end.

So I rounded up bags of crackers and pretzels, boxes of gum, oranges, carrots and apples, chips, cheese sticks, beef jerky, and about a billion kinds of candy: skittles, jelly beans, starburst, sour things, m&ms. Basically, things made out of sugar and then dipped in more sugar. Put smallish amounts in bags and put them all in a gift bag (it looks like a present!) and pass them out at the beginning of the trip. Then every hour or so, tell them to pick a treat! (Joel got something whenever he opened his mouth. He might have eaten an entire party-sized bag of peanut butter m&ms.)

This was one of my greatest ideas. Ever.

Until we were returning home and I just poured a bunch of different kinds of candy into one bag for Donovan (who had unwisely popped all of his other bags - dummy) and let him go whole hog. The last hour of a 13-hour car ride is an exercise in survival.

"Yes, eat whatever you want."
"Yes, watch that Dora episode on the ipod for the 9th time even though you don't have earbuds that fit so it's silent."
"Do whatever you have to do to not lose your mind!"

This works well until Donovan appears at your bedside at 3 am because his stomach hurts. And he runs to the toilet and barfs. It works even better if you're the spouse who stays asleep while your husband takes care of everything.

Let's move back to the positives of this trip:

1. I'm really glad I bought new windshield wipers especially in light of the major rain/sleet/snow storm we hit coming up over the pass. I would have been happier if I had had time to actually put them ON the car. Details.

2. The Best Western (hotel or motel? they said Hotel, I say Motel. If it even matters) in Evanston, Wyoming, is the nicest hotel on the planet, at least according to a 6 and 9 year old. It was actually quite satisfactory with 2 king beds and all three kids sleeping in one.

3. Refills for a 44 oz soda range from $0.50 to $0.70 from here to Boise. Don't judge me.

4. Singing at a funeral is not that hard when you don't look at anyone and you look at one word at a time and you have a running loop in your head saying, "This day is dumb. This day is dumb. This day is dumb."

5. A police escort is the best thing about a funeral. I don't care if I get a cheap casket - there WILL be an escort at my funeral.

6. Every color gerbera daisies and roses are a wonderful reminder of joy and happiness when it seems like maybe there isn't.

7. Seeing family members you haven't seen in a long time and laughing together.

8. Spending an entire day at a park relaxing and talking and giving thanks that we get to be related to such a woman. Also: the annual KFC bucket. We determined that it's only respectable to eat it once a year, at a park, with no plates.

9. Shaving an hour off your drive home.

10. Returning home to vacuum tracks.

I am unable to articulate just how much the cards, emails and calls from family, friends and strangers have meant to Joel and me. It is comforting to know that others recognize the gravity and sorrow, and are willing to mourn with you. That is the true mark of humanity and with that, and Melissa in mind, I return home with a renewed sense of purpose. The first being to be a better mother to my children. And that starts with not letting your kid OD on candy.


Allison said...

Glad you made it home safe, and hey, at least Donovan kept the candy down in the car, right?

Margo said...

Sarah, thanks for sharing with us your true feelings. What a hard time for your family. Love you so much. Plus, I think you are an amazing mother. Your children are so blessed to have you as their mother. The over load of candy is just a plus. Love ya...