Aug 9, 2009

Wishing for ruby slippers

Whenever a family trip is over, I dread going home. It's not the being home that I dread so much, but rather the going. In this case, the 11 hours of driving with four small children and no anxious anticipation to fuel my patient riding. Since Garry drove every mile of our trip (both ways, actually), I just read and slept and stared out the window. Fascinating, really.

Garry and I kept our eyes peeled for the gas station near Price, UT where we had seen gas advertised for $1.99 a gallon. When we saw the station, however, we laughed out loud. It was closed, and clearly abandoned, but old, empty cars were parked at the fuel pumps anyway. It seemed like a scene staged for a movie...quite possibly a movie about the end of the world. I was too slow to grab the camera, but the image will always be in my mind.

Later, I resorted to taking pictures of the kids, mostly to keep Gavin happy. He was a goofball. He demanded a picture of Lexi. And then he threw a toy at me.

Lunch was at Taco Bell in Grand Junction. I find it amusing that some of my most prominent memories of our trip (and of my life as a mother, really) center around meals and bodily functions. This adventure had a little of both, and more of my manic laughter. Garry joined me this time; we weren't quite sure if we wanted to claim our children at the end of lunch, or if it would be wise for our children to claim us.

When we got to the ski resort section of our state, we were overwhelmed with the beauty of the forested hills against the blue sky and its white, puffy clouds. Once again, I attempted pictures. We didn't care quite enough about the grand scenery to stop the car.

I enjoyed texting with about five different people. I made some phone calls. I kept thinking, "Are we there yet?" Seriously, like I was three. I only uttered the words aloud a few times.

We finally coasted into Denver (70-ish miles north of our house) and hit a Friday-rush-hour parking lot. Awesome! Nevertheless, it was nice to be in familiar territory. I could tell Garry was getting the itch for home, too. The kids were falling apart. We both started giggling a bit.

Lexi's last straw fell 20 miles from home. Because traffic was slow, we pulled over and I fed her on an overpass. Gavin got a new diaper. The fresh air felt good for all. We pressed on. Finally, we were home.

We put the boys to work immediately; all of their pent-up energy went into unloading the van. Because we had snacked ourselves to death all day, we weren't ready for dinner, so the boys played and I took advantage of the daylight and cleaned out the van. Gavin reached the back seat before I emptied it of trash. He dumped a cup of root beer all over the seat. Ten minutes later he had a massive diaper blow-out. This child....!

We were ready for the day to end, so Garry fed Gavin a sandwich and got him ready for bed. Garry swung Gavin up on his back for a ride down to his bedroom. When he swung him around to sit on the bed, Gavin cried out in pain. Something was hurting...maybe his wrist or his arm. Gavin continued crying and favored his arm; he wouldn't hold anything or use his hand. Garry brought him to me in a mild panic. We quickly concluded he'd take Gavin to urgent care, which closed in 20 minutes. We were certain that this misadventure should be happening to someone else.

Two hours later, Garry returned with a healthy, happy Gavin in his arms. The urgent care visit was nightmarish (can you imagine making Gavin hold still for an x-ray?), but there was good news at the end of it: no breaks or sprains. Gavin was acting normal by the time the visit ended, so all is well.

We are home, each of us in one piece. This is good.
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