Road Trip…What were we thinking?

Tim’s Great Aunt Jim died last week and we both wanted to attend her funeral in Middlesboro, KY.  Aunt Jim was always so warm and welcoming to me and entertained us with her tales of family every time we came for a visit. She gave me a set of desert plates with pine cones on them years ago when Tim was doing forestry work.  I will always cherish those.

After some debate and strategizing, we decided we could do a quick trip to KY Sunday, attend the funeral Monday and head back home to Savannah immediately after.  Google maps says it is seven hour and nine minute trip from our front door to Middlesboro city center.  We can do that.

We loaded baby, gear, dog, our stuff and ourselves in my 2012 VW Passat full of fuel and hit the road shortly after noon Sunday.  My thinking was that after lunch is prime baby nap time and if she was good and tired we could maybe get three or more hours down the road before cranky infant invaded our sweet little BD. Right. It was 45 minutes. We were barely outside of Savannah, just north of Hilton Head exit on I-95 when BD woke up and my time in the front passenger seat was over.

I am not a complete idiot so I had down loaded a couple of baby friendly videos on my IPad to keep her entertained, had a small cooler of snacks and bottles in the back seat and had upped my tablature of nursery rhymes and silly songs. It was going okay until Columbia, SC.  From there on traffic was horrible, baby had antibiotic fuel diaper loads, Erma needed bathroom breaks, Tim and Lisa needed breaks and well, it got later and later. My plan was to get to our hotel at Pine Mountain Lodge (great place to stay) by around 8:30 PM, also known as BD’s bed time. Yeah, around 9:15 PM I started to panic.  We were in Knoxville and still had another hour and a half to go over the mountain. Baby did not share my panic as she realized it was past her bedtime and proceeded to go sound to sleep. Last two hours in the car were quiet and peaceful. We arrived at the Lodge by 11:15 PM – a full eleven hours on the road. Tim unloaded the car, I handled baby and dog. By 11:30 all of us were ready for bed (we pack light and fast).  All of us that is except little Miss BD.  She had just awaken from a 2 hour nap and had spent an entire day harnessed into a car seat looking at the back of the seat in which she sat, or me.  She was ready to party.

My panic at this point turned to burning, raging frustration. Tim and I took turns singing to her, rocking her, putting her in her crib to cry in out. Finally around 1 AM I figured we had so completely screwed up her bed time routine that I needed to pull it back and act like it was 8 PM and we were getting ready for bed.  We had bath time followed by some quality Badanamu videos on the tablet and finally swaddling and night time lullabies.  It worked.  By 1:42 AM baby was asleep and I was in bed – Tim had conked out around 12:30.

I hoped she would sleep late so we could all get more than a few hours of rest but at 6:13 AM she was ready to party again. We got to see a couple of fawn outside our balcony grazing for breakfast, enjoy a yummy breakfast ourselves in the dining room and hang out in the lobby while BD crawled and tottled to her hearts content. At the funeral home she got to meet cousins and aunts and make friends and fans. She and I hung out in a room behind the chapel during the service because BD likes to dance, even to somber funeral music but she was generally very good and didn’t cause a distraction from the service, I hope.

Afterwards we loaded up and hit the road.  We left Middlesboro around 1:30 PM, arrived in Savannah by 8:45PM.  How you say?  I drove half way and threatened Tim if he dared to go the speed limit or below – everyone knows speed limits are suggestions and the estimated time of arrival on your GPS is a race time you are to beat. How did Tim, professional driver, miss that???

Now, a full day later, I am glad we went. Glad BD got to meet some of Tim’s family and that we got to say farewell to Aunt Jim. We learned a lot. This trip also changed our perspective completely. Our plans for trekking across bourbon country for our birthdays are trashed. No way are we doing 12 days in a car. Vacations for us for the next decade or so will probably be close to home and more centered around kid friendly locals. It is all good. We like Disney. Fripp and Kiawah are favorites of ours and bonus, they have great kid friendly activities and programs.

On this trip, I kept thinking about Sarah, as in Sarah and Abraham. I have identified with her in so many ways. I was attracted to the stories of infertile women in the Bible and Sarah and I really have a lot in common. Years ago in the depths of my despair and sorrow, I suggested to Tim that he find a woman who could have children and make a baby or two – just like Sarah did with Hagar. (Tim told me I was crazy and no way would he do that – he is so wise.) Now that we are parents (fingers crossed for forever parent status) I relate to Sarah on the age thing. We get mistaken for BD’s grandparents all the time. I don’t get offended. Why should I? Most of my friends are grandparents. But I won’t lie and tell you that age in a mother is just a number. I feel the late nights. It takes me longer to recover from things like funeral road trips and up all night stomach bugs. I don’t kid myself, I am the only parent in the daycare drop off line in orthopedic sandals. With this age and the aches and pains comes wisdom.  Wisdom to know this little girl is not an extension of us, that we are not her friends and that our job is to make her strong and independent and able to face this world of craziness standing on her own. I imagine Sarah filled Isaac with this same wisdom that comes from living life and making a lot of mistakes. I wish we had a book of her mother wisdom to study.  Thankfully I have wise mothers in my life who share their wisdom with me. I hope all mothers have that.

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