It's Monday night, I'm in a hotel room in Baytown, Texas where the only light is the one from this laptop screen. Six sleeping people (OK, Sara's just pretending, so when I try to eat a few goldfish crackers here in a minute, she'll pipe up and ask "what are you eating, mom?"), and one wide-awake Heather.
We're nearly mid-road trip now, and so the real-time analysis has already begun between Eric and I. You know: "How do you think things are going?"; "Are we rushing them too much?"; "What do you think they'll remember about this trip?"; and "Do they pee this much at home?" We do this to stay sane and keep the big picture in mind -- usually after we find ourselves snapping at them for snapping at each other too much.
Tonight we are thinking about how great it has been to see family and friends. I am so energized right now because I got to spend this wonderful, relaxing evening with my dear college roommate who lives in Houston with her husband and adorable daughter. We went to this great restaurant in a boardwalk on a bay. There were rides and games and fish feeding, and inside the restaurant we chose was an actual 50,000 gal aquarium with eels, sharks and many fish. It was delicious, and it was a blessing to share the time with good friends.
A big THANK YOU, also, to my sister and brother-in-law for a wonderful visit in Ft. Worth. Sure, there were a few unexpected "surprises", but those are what make the memories stick. : ) Our highlight yesterday was enjoying great play time in the park nearby, while Eric got a personal tour of Lockheed. I'm not that great at understanding the intricacies of tooling philosophy, but I could tell he was inspired. And, by the way, we hope your cat recovers quickly from the visit.
When we were on the drive from Ft. Worth to Houston today, Eric and I were talking about what overall impression the kids might have of the trip so far, and even later when they look back on it. I mentioned that when I was younger and took a big road trip with family, there are a lot of things that -- at the time -- were pretty miserable in my eyes: motion sickness, never enough pool time, motion sickness, taking long detours off the interstate to look at wagon wheel ruts in a deserted prairie, and, of course, Pike's Peak thin air sickness (don't I sound like a fun child to take a trip with?). But back then, and even more so now, my overall memories of the trip are wonderful and I know that the experience was so worthwhile. The bad things are always in there, I told Eric, and we knew that they were going to happen, but we did it anyway, with a positive outlook and the ever-present ability to laugh and enjoy the adventure. And that, Eric replied, is life.
Best quote of the day: (Set-up: because most of our hotels accommodate 6 people, we have brought an air bed for the 7th person each night. The kids actually enjoy sleeping on the air bed, I think because they get it to themselves. Tonight, this hotel room is one large room with two queens and a pull out double sofa. The queen at the far end of the room is near the air conditioning unit. Eric turned it on when we came in and it started blowing out the cold air and blowing the curtains near the bed. Leah climbed onto the bed and noticed the cold air.)
"Hey! I don't want to sleep on the air bed!" -- Leah, who hates being cold. (If this doesn't strike you as funny, you clearly have not been on a road trip for 4 days with five children.:)