Last week our family took off for our first official road trip with the boys. Graham and Owen can now add Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota to the list of states they have visited. It was an eventful trip. Traveling 36 hours total with a two year old and a 5 month old is an adventure. Graham was a great traveler and slept a good portion of our time in the car. Owen gave us a dramatic start by throwing up twice on our way out of Ellensburg. Only 4 hours into our travels, we had to decide whether to take Owen home or keep going. Thankfully, Owen perked up and we were able to move forward. Our van smelled awesome though… For the first time ever we did laundry at a hotel. The car seat, puke clothes and Owen’s sleeping buddy, Lamby, all needed a good wash. We traveled with Jeremy’s brother and his family on the way to South Dakota, so while the laundry was going, we all went swimming. The best part of this trip for Owen was having cousins along for the ride. He enjoyed being a part of the kid pack. Graham got lots of love from the cousins as well. Our boys enjoyed the time with family.
Arriving at Grandma’s house in South Dakota felt strange. The siblings had gone through the house and cleared it out. The walls were bare of photos and knickknacks. In a way, it didn’t feel like Grandma’s house anymore… Grandma was the one person I knew that would greet you with kisses on the cheek. It was odd to not have her there to give us hugs and kisses upon arrival.We were only in South Dakota two full days. Friday had a early but quiet start. Graham got a 3 hour nap in the morning and then Owen got a nap in the afternoon. Jeremy took the boys and I out to lunch at Texas Roadhouse. We don’t have that restaurant in our area and they have yummy rolls! Bread is one of my love languages. Owen loved dancing to the loud country music they play. Friday night was a prayer service and Saturday was mass and the graveside burial. I’m honestly lacking words when it comes to describing all the emotions surrounding our time in South Dakota. We were blessed to spend time with family. It was special to take Owen and Graham to the place where Jeremy was born and spent his early childhood. There was exhaustion from messed up sleep schedules and sharing a bed with a toddler. There was the tension of keeping the kids quiet and happy during the services. Owen was a chatterbox during most of the services. It’s hard to focus on your kids and grieving at the same time. I was glad that we could make the trip. So often I try to label things as fun. I try to do fun outings with the kids, have fun family time. But this wasn’t a super fun trip. We had good moments and the kids did have fun. The weight of saying good-bye to Grandma always there. Also, road tripping as a parent of two little ones added a new dynamic. Last time we visited South Dakota, we didn’t have kids yet. This was a totally different experience.
Our plan was take the trip home in three days. We wanted to make the days in the car shorter. However, Owen, Graham and Jeremy all came down with a cough that was going around during our travels. Sunday night into Monday, Owen developed a fever. We woke up early on Monday and decided it was time to be home in our own beds. This lead to a 12+ hour day of the road. It was a bit crazy, but since the whole family was getting sick, it was the best choice. Now rest of the week as been spent with coughs and fevers. I am the only one who hasn’t gone down. I am either immune or I will be the last to go. I don’t feel awesome, but at least I am fever free and not hacking up a lung.
This trip was bittersweet and full of mixed emotions. I am glad we were able to go and I will remember this epic adventure for the rest of my life. Now we have another service this weekend for Jeremy’s Uncle Dan. I never expected that my first two weekends of April would be spent remembering passed loved ones. It’s an intense season. God is here and he is in each of these moments. Even though we are sad, we have peace, hope and joy in knowing that we will see these loved ones again.