Spring Break. Depending on your current station in life that phrase can cause you to do one of the following: a) Squeal, jump up and down and yell, “O.M.G! Ya’ll! We are going to have so much fun!” or b) Begin to break out in cold sweats, as you try to take slow, cleansing breaths to ease your mild chest pains, while muttering, “I think I need to lie down for a second,” and wandering in circles around your house.
My kids were excited about their Spring Break, and I barely had the energy required to putter in a small circle around my mother’s house. I spent most of last weekend in the mountains of Jasper, Ga. at a training retreat for YoungLives, an amazing mentoring program for teenage mothers. While being bombarded with information to serve the girls in my area, I had the luxury of eating three meals a day that I didn’t have to prepare. I was able to have multiple adult conversations without anyone yelling,”MOMMA!” in my ear, and actually spent several hours doing nothing but having coherent thoughts. It was miraculous.
On our way back from Georgia, my friend dropped me off in Birmingham, Ala. at my mother’s house. My mom had collected my two oldest daughters from their other grandmother’s house and we were heading to the beach this week for their Spring Break. I sprawled on the grass in her backyard, exhausted from my trip as my daughters squealed and jumped up and down and yelled, “Momma! When are we going to the beach! We want to go right now!”
My bags hadn’t even made it inside my mother’s house yet, they still sat on the driveway where I had dropped them when I got out of my friend’s car, and ran to grab my babies. Aubrey and Emma’s bags were still in my mother’s car from when she had picked them up. The idea of unloading all of that stuff for one night was completely overwhelming. I looked at my mom and said with an exhausted sigh, “Let’s just go.” She quickly packed her bag and gathered Sadie’s things and we hit the road again.
I was terrified, but for very good reasons. You may have read about our road trips— Dorito vomit, pulled hair, pit stops on the side of the road, and toddlers who can and will release themselves from a 5-point harness in the blink of an eye. I was exhausted and at a breaking point before we even got in the car and I wasn’t sure how much my nerves would be able to take.
But something magical happened in the car— absolutely nothing. My children sat in their seats for five hours and rode. We talked. We laughed. We played “I Spy.” Aubrey, my six-year-old, acted as a mediator between her two younger sisters and continually asked her baby sister, “What do you need Sadie-Boo?” I barely had to even turn around in my seat.
They played a few games on our phones but because there were only two phones and three kids someone was always without one.
Aubrey had been playing with my phone for a pretty long time and her four-year-old sister asked for a turn. Aubrey didn’t respond so I said, “Aubrey, let
Emma have a turn, you’ve been playing for a long time.”
“Okay,” she quipped, immediately passing the phone to her sister and simultaneously passing gas.
“Aubrey you are getting so big! You are so grown-up!” I gushed.
She wrinkled her eyebrows and said, “Why? ‘Cause I keep on tootin’ so much?”
“Uh, no. You’ve always done that. You are sharing and being so sweet!” I told her.
“Yep, I’m getting bigger, alright. Just growing on up. Huh, Momma?”
I realize it’s too soon to tell and I may seriously regret putting this in black and white, but this vacation has the potential to be the only vacation in the history of my family that didn’t require a vacation as recovery when we finally found our way home. Fingers crossed.
Robin o’Bryant is a syndicated humor columnist and stay-at-home-mom to three daughters born within four years. She finally figured out where babies come from and got herself under control. Her first book, “Ketchup is a Vegetable and other Lies moms tell themselves,” is rated #1 by reader reviews on Amazon in two genres: Humor Essays and Parenting & Families. Visit her at www.robinschicks.com. Robin’s Chicks to learn helpful tips such as: how to breastfeed behind your back*, how to talk to your daughters about man parts, and how to write a proper gold fish obituary.
*Only applies to lactating women with a DD cup or larger.