Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Twelve for '12: Family Vacation

It's the end of February, which means we're one-sixth of the way through the year already and I'm wondering where the last six weeks have gone. But at least I have successfully crossed off one thing on my 2012 list:

8) Travel. To Illinois? To California? Just somewhere that requires me to board a plane.

Last week we returned from a nine day family trip to Illinois. Planes were boarded, there and back. And guess what? That's enough traveling for me, thank you very much. At least with children. I'll take any trips alone or with Thom or other adult company that anyone wants to throw at me (with all expenses paid), but I don't think I need to travel again with small children for, well, as long as I have small children.

They did fine, really. It's not their fault that they picked up some sort of stomach bug halfway through the trip and spent the last four days throwing up. And it wasn't their fault that they were being driven all over the Chicago metropolitan area, eating in weird places, meeting new people every day, and missing their naps most of the time. They were really wonderful for the first few days, adjusting well to the new surroundings and generally being social and pleasant.

But that last half of the trip - oh boy! If we hadn't had the comfort of our friends the Mitchells' home to wait out the last few days, I don't know what we would have done. And the plane ride home? The three-weeks-until-two year old threw the most epic tantrum of her life (around two hours in length) before collapsing in exhaustion for the last twenty minutes of the flight. Meanwhile the nine month old contracted a cold all of a sudden and was throwing her body around feverishly with intermittent cries of pain (we found out when we returned that she also had an ear infection).

I'm not complaining (wink, wink, Lent), just describing what actually happened.

Everyone's much better now after a few days at home. Antibiotics are doing their magic, and symptoms are down to just a lingering cough. Was it worth it? I'm not sure.

We got to see some wonderful friends; there are so many amazing and dear-to-us people in that part of the world, even friends who drove hours to come see us. The time could not possibly have been long enough to really enjoy diving back into those relationships. Mostly it was rushed and kid-centered and felt incomplete. It's so hard living your life in two places all the time. When we lived there, it felt always like our home was in the West, but in a lot of ways we have more roots there than here, like a great church home, both of our jobs, and incredibly understanding friends.

I thought I had sufficiently low expectations for the trip going into it. I was pretty certain I'd get very little sleep (which was true) and that the girls might be out of sorts (which was sometimes true), but I did not expect to spend three days confined indoors while I tried to figure out how to be a mom to vomiting children. This was the first time I've ever dealt with real sickness as a mom; the girls have only had a couple of minor colds before this. And I had to figure it out in front of other people and away from the comforts of my own home. Yes, there was more than one occurrence of saying a curse word at the top of my voice in the middle of the night. It was challenging to say the least. So I find myself on the edge of disappointment when I reflect on completing this item on the list.

Overall, the trip seems like merely another reminder that my goals, my desires, my plans are not what's important here. Can I be given this lesson enough? It's not sinking in, apparently.


  1. I don't think the California part should be crossed off :-).

  2. I know! I meant to say something about that - I'm not crossing it off yet, just not bringing the kids!

  3. Sorry it was so tough with the kiddos. But it was GREAT to see you guys! (Jackie)

  4. Jackie, it was so good to see you too! I wish it had been longer. Now we're just back to missing you again.