There was nothing whatsoever laughable about the events I’m about to describe. Miserable is more like it. However, sitting on the couch with a humungo (hoo-mung-go) glass of wine and a plate of my mami’s rice and beans, I can, with a full belly and giddy buzz, laugh about it.
This weekend I packed up my girlies and hit the road for a mini-road trip to surprise my best friend for her big three-oh. The ride down – painless. A nap, some play, minimal whining and only one stop (I get extra points for the fact that the rest stop we went to had an entire high school on some kind of class trip and we survived the madness) – a 3 hour drive in 4.5 hours; I’ll take it!
The ride back: 6+ hours, 5 stops, non-stop crying, peed pants, vomit…I should just end this post right there.
*Original photo by Dana Moos via Flikr.
I won’t, though, because I’m tipsy and just as loose with my typing as my speech when I’m under the influence =)
Right, the ride back.
It started out so well, I should have known better. Barely on the highway and both my kidlets were passed out. I drove, no lie, 2 hours straight, without so much as a peep from either of them. Victory was mine! My plan was to stop once they woke up for a late lunch and then kill the last stretch home.
Just after the 2 hour mark, both girls got up and we pulled it over to the nearest restaurant – Le Chili’s. Lunch (how come an early breakfast is called a brunch but a late lunch isn’t called a dunch? or linner? hmm….) went marvelously – they gobbled up tons of food (rare) and sat relatively well and listened and didn’t touch a single thing in the restroom!
We packed it back up and hit the road only to have baby girl burst out into screamcrying (yes, screamcrying, one word, it’s that bad) no less than 20 minutes later. In between screamcries, she’d howl, ” leche!/milk!” We stopped at a Stop & Shop plaza. I nursed. We hit the road. No less than 20 minutes later, more screamcrying. We pull over, I nurse, we hit the road. We do this three more times. Three. More. Times.
The first time – No problem. I’m hungry. I have to pee. Heck, everyone’s hungry and has to pee.
Second time – Doh! Totally my fault, I forgot to nurse her before we left.
Third time – This child is testing me something fierce, this throbbing at my temples is a full blown headache now, I’m pissed – at no one, just the universe and the a-hole in front of me who keeps braking for no reason.
Fourth time – What am I going to do? Can’t stress, won’t help anyone. Surrender to this moment, there’s no where to be so just go with it, meet her little needs and get home when you get home. And big sister has been a saint, offering words of advice, reading to herself, asking me how I’m doing. She’s such a good girl. It’s hopeless just give in. Pit stop for ice cream – who could cry after ice cream?
*Original image by spike55151 via Flikr.
Fifth time – My kid can totally cry after ice cream.
The home stretch – She can cry after ice cream, and ta-da! vomit ice cream, too! Bless my big girl’s heart for not complaining about the noise or the stench.
It was dreaded but also one of those parenting moments where you’ve got to dig deep and just breathe through it. One of my biggest life lessons is learning to surrender, to let go, give up any illusions I have of controlling anyone and anything but myself. Driving in my car at my wit’s end I believed for a split second I could make the screamcrying stop by singing, rationalizing, talking her thru it, willing it away, clenching the steering wheel until my knuckles were white, being not so friendly to my angel of a 3.5 year old for asking too many questions, letting the baby play with my phone, throwing snacks at her. I was under the impression we could get through the screamcrying on my terms. Wrong.
When I finally said f-this, let’s just get out of the car and really focus on baby’s needs, things went a lot more smoothly. She didn’t stop crying but I was in a better place knowing I’d addressed her needs with an open heart, 110% of my attention and without my needs in mind.
So what am I babbling about here? Surrender. It never fails me. Surrender and no doubt everything after will be better than everything before. Give it a try.
I did learn a few more things from the longest drive from New Jersey to Rhode Island:
*Original image by Nina Matthews Photography via Flikr.
- The folks at the Chili’s in CT don’t make the Quesedilla Explosion Salad as explosively dee-lish as the magicians at RI Chili’s.
- However, I’ll give it to Chili’s – they hire really friendly people in both CT & RI.
- I heart the Equinox Diner – everyone is pep squad cheery, uber-dee-uber helpful and kid friendly to the max.
- If it involves vomit, refrain from making my easy to vomit husband do anything involving items smelling of or covered in vomit…it will only produce more vomit.
- I’m not against ear plugs.
- Must buy portable DVD players. Must.
- Wine makes everything better. It can even make the past better =)
- It is not ever a good thing to get pulled over by a cop. I did not in fact get pulled over but I did for sometime kindahope a cop would pull me over. In my kindahoping way, I imagined the kind officer would pity me and the screaming baby covered in vomit and offer to escort me with lights blazing at breakneck speeds all the way home. It didn’t happen.