This trip is going to be way different than usual, that's for sure. The most obvious reason is Mom won't be there. I know - she'll be there in spirit, right? She left us these annual trips as a legacy. We all plan to keep it up every year. So that's a really good thing. But it's going to be really hard. We used to cook together, and chat, and remind each other when it was time for Happy Hour.
It's going to be hard. I'm used to doing hard things. I know exactly how it works. You stew over how hard something will be, and worry. I know better than to worry, of course. One of my favorite Bible verses is this, from Matthew 6:
|Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? .... Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.|
This was especially meaningful to me when I was expecting triplets. I realized pretty quick that worrying about what life would be like with THREE BABIES was likely to send me into premature labor...so I physically gave up my worry - gave it to God - and took one day at a time.
Another big thing I've learned about doing hard stuff is that just when I need it, I get the strength to do it. It has to be a God thing, because you don't have it one minute longer than you need it. To those who say they could never handle triplets, I say this - if you had them, you would! It's that simple. Any parent should know what I am talking about here - when you were doing midnight feedings, your body adjusted somewhat. But try to pull an all-nighter after they sleep through the night, it's a lot harder!! You don't need that strength anymore, so you don't have it.
I always say I couldn't have handled baby triplets without Mom. But the truth is I know that if I had to, I would have. So I know that God will give me what I need now, too. He knows what I need, even if I don't.
I have a lot of extra things to deal with, for this trip. I had to call the kennel for the dogs (turns out Mom had already called). The Big Kid and I are staying up in Arkansas to visit two campuses...Mom is the one who would have taken care of my other kids while I'm gone. So I have to arrange for them to get up and dressed (hubby can't miss work after vacation), get the other Kid a ride to school (Big Kid drives him, so he can't just hop on a bus without prior notice), and take care of the little ones after school (luckily there is now an aftercare, so I just have to arrange today for them to drop in for 2 days!). Projects are due, fees are due. I need to plan food for my Dad, who is on a very strict vegan diet because of his cancer - no sugar, no flour, and he believes soy is evil... LOL, you try cooking like that. This may come as a surprise to some of you () but I just not that organized. Somehow it's all coming together, though.
One thing we're doing next week is the burial. We're using a National cemetery in Arkansas, so we decided to do it when we're all there anyway. I will be glad to have that final step done, to get through the party my Arkansas brother is going to have afterwards ("no crying! It's all about fun!").
OK, now to lighten things up...here is what I wrote last year at this time.
'Twas the night before vacation, when out in the van,
We were packed to the gills, tons of stuff for each man.
The suitcases crammed with essentials therein:
Stuffed duckies, Hot Wheels, toothbrushes, gin (hey, it rhymes. )...
The children were snuggled together on the couch,
lest we forget them in the morning when we moved out.
Daddy snoring softly, I lay awake
wondering what've we forgotten to pack up to take?
The inside of my brain worked overtime
mentally going over the list and checking off each line.
"I think we're all ready. Take a chill pill."
I said it would be ok, but I'm not sure it will.
See, when we go on vacation it always seems
We forget so much stuff and end up at Walgreens
Replacing and spending our vacation change
when we have it at home all neatly arranged!
Instead of a Duck Tour we spend money on
Shampoo, tennis balls, and bottles of calgon!
So I lay awake restless, thinking about stuff
I can cram into the spaces when it's time to get up.
Oh, toothpaste! Oh, Advil! Oh, big coffee cup!
Now, Xbox! Now, iPod! Now, Book of the Month!
To the suitcase, to the garage, to the driveway near the wall
Pack it up! Pack it up! Pack it up, all!
As dry heaves that on the curvy scenic route fly,
When you hand them the trashcan, and say close your eyes,
As the cry "Mom, he poked me!" floats through the air...
And the Leapster games inevitably get dropped off the chair...
Soft drinks spill in car seats,
Chips get ground into the rug,
Dad hits a bump and coffee gets spilled from the mug.
Still there are road games to play and maps to peruse.
New DVDs to watch and markers to use.
So on to the condo the big red van flew.
With a load of kids, parents, and all their stuff, too.
Over the hills far, we drove through the day
"Are we there yet?" always a moment away.
Suddenly almost before we knew
We were really there, at a quarter to two!
Grandad and Grandma came out of their door.
Cousins were playing happily on the floor.
Sweet smells coming from the condo down yonder
Hugs and photo ops and family news to ponder.
Thanksgiving again, time for vacation
To the condo we go, from all around the nation.
Family and friends, old and young
getting together and having fun!
Thankful for family, our love is strong.
Even when we don't always get along!
Count your blessings, big and small, and don't you forget it!
Contentment is yours, if only you'll let it.
OK....Coffee is cold now...back to work!
Edit: Omigosh!!! I almost forgot the Cajun Eggnog! That was a close one