Have you ever ridden 18 hours in a car in one day? Technically it was 18 hours and 15 minutes, but once you get past hour 14, time becomes an illusion. Other things happen at hour 14 too, such as severe stomach cramps from the junk food, headache from severe dehydration, irritation from the children…stuff like that. I think it's weird what you allow as a parent on a road trip, in order to maintain your sanity, but not necessarily your dignity. Normally we limit tech time and we eat pretty healthy. By the time we'd hit North Platte yesterday, my kids had watched four movies, played hand held devices during the time I was pulling the old movie out and putting a new one in and they ate oreos for dinner. Literally. Oreos were their dinner. Jack did have a handful of almonds though, so at least you know one of them knows how to make good choices.
The last week was a whirlwind of happy times and not one of us is ready to face the reality that summer is about over. We spent the week moving at breakneck speed in Holland, Michigan celebrating with family as we prepared to attend the wedding of my nephew Taylor and his amazingly sweet bride Jacquee.
Since last October when we got a phone call from Taylor and Jacquee, we knew we'd be making a trip out east. Taylor is technically my sister's son, however, I like to say I had a bit of hand in raising the boy. He's always had a special place in my heart, and being there for his wedding was the highlight of our summer! He and Jacquee asked our littlest Sass to participate in the excitement too, and be their flower girl. The mission was a success thanks to the Anna and Else dolls purchased as bribery. They were on display all week for the child as motivation. She was not allowed to touch the gift, until the last petal was dropped and "knucks" were given to Taylor. Once that was accomplished the dolls were hers. If that's wrong, please don't tell me. It worked like a charm and isn't that all that really matters?
Besides attending a wedding, we did a little sightseeing around Holland and decided Michigan is a very pretty state. We loved Lake Michigan and the kids had two days in a row with their cousins to play at the beach! There were contests for whose sand castle was the best and Billy, ever the diplomat, declared them all winners. (I hate when everyone gets a trophy. After he did his "yours was the best for this reason" speech, I secretly pulled everyone aside and made sure the girls knew they won.) Everyone loved the sand and the water—it was just like being at the ocean except I didn't have to constantly be on the lookout for sharks. Everyone came home with all their limbs and digits, and no one made the evening news. I call that success!
The wedding itself was beautiful. Lots of friends and family were there to celebrate, and if we didn't know them before the wedding, by the time it was all over we felt like we knew them. There were so many sweet moments that day, but one of my favorite was when the bride had walked down with her dad to the front of the church and all four parents stood up, encircled the bride and groom, and they took a few minutes to pray for them. That was the moment those kids were truly given over to each other to face life as a team, but never alone. Always with God in the center and parents standing alongside.
The reception was a huge party. I have never seen anything like it—the dance floor was FULL of almost every guest attending that party, including Jacquee's grandma who had sprained her foot just minutes before the wedding. We all danced for hours, laughing and moving, and having one of the best nights of our lives. Not only did I do my signature "superstar" move, I managed to find my groove as the night went on, despite my Baptist upbringing. The most surprising dancer of the night goes to Little Sass, who at 3 years old didn't stop moving for one second. (except to get some skittles). She had moves you never saw coming. She was enthralled by it all, and only after almost 2 hours decided she was done. None of my boys love dancing, but you better believe Billy was not going to see me out there be-bopping alone. It was truly one of the most fun times I've ever had.
And now we are home. The lawn needs mowed. The boys are fighting and the girls are whining. School supplies have yet to be bought, and the first day is less than a week away. Nobody under my roof wants to face the verity, including me. Truth is life moves so fast, we are a vapor and gone. Yesterday I was driving to college and my nephew was born. Today he is a married man. Yesterday I held my firstborn son, and next week he will be a sophmore in high school. Yesterday I was given a daughter, and another one again. Someday we will have to give them both away. Yesterday my little boy thought I hung the moon. Today he is figuring out how it really hangs all the way up there in space. Yesterday I was stuck in a car for 18 hours with my kids. Today I wish I could go back to being all they ever need. Even if it's in the middle of nowhere.