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On 12-hour trips in the car, family and McDonalds in truckstops August 16, 2010

Posted by Erin F. Wasinger in Home.

I come back from my trip in Ohio utterly exhausted.

A summary would exhaust me further, so I offer snapshots of the verbal variety:

Like the snapshot of us at a table inside an Indiana McDonalds/ truckstop hybrid, where a couple and their boys and 20 truckers were trying to pretend Alice’s sobbing screams for her dad from our booth wasn’t really happening. He looked at me from his place in line to see Alice reaching out from where I’d put her, across from me in a dirty booth, a hungry Violet perched on my hip, torn between stopping Alice from fleeing in front of me and my purse to my left in the car seat … I yelled “DAVE” and let her run to him.

My iPod was in my purse, come on.

I’m exhausted.

And there was this big sticker on the table that suggested in happy phrases that we spin an empty milk carton on the sticker, which had all these idiotic suggestions on it a la “make a funny face!” I was nearly in tears over the inane idea that someone would a.) order milk at a truckstop McDonalds in this state, and b.) that I will ever, ever spin a milk carton over a sticker that tells me to make a funny face to create these happy little family memories at a truckstop McDonalds.

Other snapshots I’d rather delete: The sliding the car into park at the stroke of midnight, 12 hours after we’d strapped the kids into their car seats.

The hissing at Alice an hour later, who was laying at the foot of our bed in the spare room at Dave’s parents’ house, to stop pressing the Glo Worm’s belly at 1 a.m., out of the fear that the damn toy’s music would wake Violet, who was in her crib an arm’s length from where the three of us were doing said hissing.

The one where I stopped in to introduce Violet to my grandpa, and was running late and could only stay 20 minutes, long enough to flip through his Honor Flight photos, all these emotions running just under the surface. Grade A idiot I was, slipping in and out of his house with barely enough time to take a photo.

I teared up, angry at myself, wondering if I shouldn’t have stopped in at all, on my way out of his driveway, late to pick up Dave from his meeting with his friend, late to see our other friends, then late to leave their house. Returning three hours late to Dave’s parents’ house. The sleeping, dark house was screaming at our inconsiderate, selfish selves, even if no one else was.

Or the playtime where Alice screamed every time her well-meaning 2-year-old cousin came within a foot of her. “ALCIE SHIRT,” she’d scream when her cousin pretended to tickle her. “ALCIE CUP!” when her cousin retrieved Alice’s dropped cup. “ALCIE BLANKIE” when her cousin accidentally stepped on the part drooping on the ground.

It wasn’t a horrible trip, though.

We saw our families, Alice played with her cousins, many babies’ cheeks where smooshed and kissed by me; Violet was a doll, an absolute ball of chubby cuteness on my hip, the picture of contentedness if I ever gave birth to one. No one bled, died or suffered any tragedy.

No one threw up.

But family is messy. It’s really, really messy. There’s the family you miss, and the ones who never hold your baby. And the ones you see mostly just at Christmas but think about a lot and wish you had a tunnel straight from your living room to theirs. The family who you save your best stories for, and the family who overhears those stories and has no idea what you’re talking about.

I love them all, but I’m exhausted.

And before we have a chance to relax because we’ve survived the most contentious visit home since Christmas (the only visit home since Christmas, you might add), someone says “We’re doing our Christmas Dec. 27. Be there by 2.” And we don’t have vacation slips back or plans set and the other two sets of parents hear that and are on alert and doing some hissing of their own, and just GRRRR.

This is a really, really long rant. I apologize.

I will be in a better mood after I realize I have no bottles to wash tonight. Ha.



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