I’m sitting in our bed. Maile is asleep. I just heard thunder outside (either that, or the neighbors up the hill are shooting fireworks again). Two lights are on in the house – the one beside the bed and the one in the hall. That hall light is for the kids, because how would they find their way to our bed in the middle of the night if it was completely dark? They rarely make the trek, but they also like to know that, if they need to, they can.
Our living room is a wreck – looks like our minivan over-ate and then threw up in there. Suitcases and tote bags and plastic bags filled with dirty clothes are lined up. There’s a bag full of peed-in clothes – I’ll get to that in a minute. We got home late, so tomorrow is clean up day.
The first half of the drive went fast. By 1pm we had arrived at Andi’s house in Bremo Bluff, Virginia where she served us a beautiful lunch and we got to meet and hang out with Laurie and Jack Jensen. Later on, when home came within reach, we asked the kids what their favorite part of our two-week trek had been: without hesitation their voices chimed, “Andi’s house!” The tractors, the dog, the cats, the frogs, the blackberry picking…all of it made for a great halfway point.
The second half of the drive, the five-hour stretch from central Virginia to central Pennsylvania, stunk like feet. Somewhere on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, 3-year-old Abra started saying in her most hysterical voice, “I have to make a pee! I have to make a pee!” At that moment I knew we were in trouble – she is notorious for waiting until the last second to make her intentions known. Maile pulled on to the very narrow shoulder, then up over the curb and into the grass.
I jumped out, but as I opened my door I heard her frantic cry change.
“I have to pee! I have to pee! I have to…I peed! I peed! I peed!”
So I got her out and stripped her down and cleaned her with the miracle fleece (baby wipes). I sat her naked on my seat and began looking for the bag with her clothes.
“I have to pee!” Cade shouted.
“Me, too!” Lucy yelled.
So I helped the entire family pee, right there on the narrow curb of the Baltimore-Washington Expressway. Cade and Lucy climbed back in. I couldn’t find Abra’s bag so I dressed her in some of Cade’s underwear and one of his pajama shirts. Then I tried to remove Abra’s baby seat from the back of the van.
“Aw, Dad, you dripped pee on me!” Cade shouted.
I handed him some wipes. Seats were rearranged. The rest of the trip seemed spoiled – everyone was tense, hungry and irritable after having to pee on the side of a highway.
But that seems so long ago now. The house is quiet. A few minutes ago I snuck over to their rooms to stare at their four sleeping faces.