Well, since I last wrote, I have traveled another almost-800 miles. This time, I added 3 more of the most precious passengers. Picking them up is always a bit of a trial, but seeing the smiles on their faces as they run to me for hugs is amazing. Now mind you, they are running to me while drying their eyes of tears. It is not easy on them to leave Daddy at all, as they have formed a very tight knit family, but when they see me, it is as if that all melts away and for the time they are with me, all is well.
So, 800 miles is a very long time for an adult in a car. (Thirteen hours with the lower speed limits in the south, the colder precipitation in the north, some DC rush hour traffic, bathroom/gas breaks, and some really good luck.) But, it’s even worse on a kid. Ask one of yours to sit in one place for 13 hours and see where it gets you! But, mine – they got up at 4:30 when I asked them to, they got dressed and walked to the car without grumbling, and they behaved the ENTIRE trip. No arguments, no yelling at one another, no begging for things they knew we couldn’t afford – no negative any thing. I’m serious. My children quite possibly are hiding angel’s wings under those human bodies.
Or, they treasure the moments as much as I do, because we know the moments are few.
Which is exactly why we used about 10 hours of that drive to talk about the real “meat” of life. They asked me ANY questions they wanted to, and I gave them REAL answers. We planned outings, menus, and they got extremely excited about the warm weather down here. They asked about Chris and Rhyan – Noah even asked if CHRIS could take him on his Christmas shopping trip this week, instead of Mom. (Remember, we missed Christmas with them this past year.) Absolutely, Noah! PLEASE fall in love with an amazing role model and spend as much time with him as you want – we all need many good strong adults in our lives!!
So, we pull in the parking lot here in VA Beach at about 5:30 on Saturday, and start filing into the house. I am the first one in, and the hallway gives me a straight view of the dining room table, where my youngest is sitting in her chair, having just finished eating dinner. She looks at me, but there is no smile, and I’m really bummed out because that was the first time I had ever left her for so long! And then it dawns on me. She isn’t looking at me. She is looking beyond me to the two little girls that have trailed in with me. She is curious and contemplative and then – EXCITED! Literally, they have been inseparable ever since!
I took Faith out yesterday morning for some girl time. We had a very nice long WOMAN talk on the beach with our Starbucks in hand. I gave her a book that she has been wanting, and I also gave her a ring that her father gave me while we were married. I want her to know that at one point in our lives, her daddy and I loved each other very much – enough to bring three beautiful children into the world, and that always and forever, we will love them without fail. (Don’t worry, Chloe will get something in the future, too. I made sure I had a few precious possessions left from our time together so that I would have something to give to each of them.)
After our girl time, we went grocery shopping and then she spent her Christmas money at the Navy Exchange at Oceana on a swimsuit, shorts, and took the extra $6 (they get $25 each) to put in her pocket. Later in the afternoon, I took Chloe to spend hers which was a VERY different experience! She had several items in her hands, and kept returning them to the shelves, being careful to get the PERFECT items with her money. She purchased a beautiful black sundress, a white scarf, and some lip glosses in a small case. The rest of the afternoon was filled with playing outdoors, our traditional nacho picnic on the living room floor, and snuggling.
I finally hear floors creaking upstairs, so time to wrap this up for now. Thanks to all of you for sharing in my excitement, and for being interested enough in my journey as a non-custodial parent that you actually read my ramblings! We are off to the beach when the sun rises a bit more!