Today's Image
Not an Oncoming Train

We're mostly packed up, although I'm still wondering to where the rider for Sam's Breyer horse has gotten off, and Eric can't find his spare set of keys to our car. (Thank God I brought mine; we think he may have left them at the gas station at which we stopped on our way back here from Maryland.) Tomorrow we'll finish the last-minute packing of morning-use toiletries, pajamas, etc., we'll load up the car, and then we'll hit the airport after lunching with Eric's brother and family. We should be flying into Chicago at night, just like last trip. I must say, though I still hate flying about as much as I hate dentristry, looking out my window and seeing that big city sparkling away beneath me is fascinating and beautiful.

Sam hit what I hope was his peak of naughtiness this evening, and he was sent to bed even earlier than his usual bedtime at home. He freaked about it, kicking at Eric and acting crazed, until I took over and told him a story:

"Once upon a time, there was a little boy who went on a trip with his family to visit his grandmother and grandfathers, his aunts and uncles, his great-aunts and great-uncles, his cousins, and all of their friends. He had a very big family, so this trip lasted a very, very long time.

While he was on this trip, he didn't have time to nap like he was used to doing, and he often had to stay up past his bedtime so that the family could do things together. The little boy got very, very tired, and the more tired he got, the crankier he felt. Also, he had to eat what other people had at their houses, and it was often something he had never had before. He was so cranky from being tired that he didn't want to try to eat new things, and he ate junkier and junkier things every day, which made him feel even morecranky.

On top of everything, he missed his own bed, his own toys, his own friends, and his house, his school, and his regular routine. Every time he started to find a new routine for resting and eating, he would have to get in the car and go see another set of relatives and get used to new foods and new places and times to sleep. He missed his old favorite foods and his old bedtime so much, and that made him mad.

When the trip was almost over, the little boy had had it. He started to yell, to not eat anything at all, to fight with his brother, to argue with his mommy and daddy, and even to talk back to his beloved Papou. He was sent to bed, where he cried and cuddled his stuffed Trevor. His mommy hugged him and told him it would be better soon.

The next day, they got on an airplane and went home. At first, the little boy felt even madder, because he missed his relatives and because he had gotten used to horrible junk food all the time. But his mommy and daddy made him good, healthful food that he liked, and they gave him back his bedtime with his special bedtime music and his favorite bedtime books. He went to school, and he got used to sitting still and not running around all crazy any more. Before long, he wasn't cranky anymore, or at least not most of the time. he was happy little boy, and he was glad to be home.

When I finished, he was smiling, and he said he wanted to go back to his own bed back in Wisconsin. I told him that we still had one morning left to play here, and he worried, "But I'll still be naughty!" I told him that he didn't have to be if he didn't want to, but he still fretted about it. Poor kid; he feels so out of control, and he desperately wants to be in control of himself. Getting home will be good for all of us.

It is going to take everything in my power not to sart ripping down Christmas stuff the moment we get through the door back home. Wait for Epiphany? Hah! I need simplicity and calmness, not chaos and lights! Isn't it funny how that works? Maybe someday, when we get to have a normal, peaceful holiday season in our own home, without whirlwind travel and confusion, I'll feel less frantic to end Christmas as soon as the first few days of the season have passed; I seem to remember feeling that way before kids, come to think of it.

As it is, I'm already sensing the crowded feeling I'll get when I see that tree and all our packages under it that have yet to find new homes in our house. Sam's GeoTrax train set will now have officially overrun the Rubbermaid tub that was holding it, but the idea of a second train tub in our living room, alongside the other two big bins of toys, gives me the creeping horrors. The Playmobil is now too much for Sam's train table; we'll need a better system for that, but I haven't the foggiest idea what that would be.

It's got to be better than living out of suitcases, though. Home will make it all better, I just know it. It has to. Once I'm in my big bed, with my pillows and a different set of pajamas than the single set I brought with me in an effort to pack light, I'll feel much less tense. Oh, and my own non-butt-like coffee, too; that won't hurt.

Give us good thoughts for tomorrow's trip. Gabe's been battling a fever on and off since last night, and I don't know whether to hope that it's teething-related or not at this point (which would annoy or fellow passengers less?). Sam's a bit stuffy, too, and Eric is claiming to "feel woozy," which could mean anything. I just...I need to sleep. The end is in sight, and I can make it through anything to get there.

previous one year ago:
And that, friends, is why we all, including and especially me, need to keep our minds open and our mouths shut once in a while.
two years ago:
When Mom gets home tonight, we're all either going to get hugged or killed.
three years ago:
The boy has more cars than Chrysler, along with musical instruments and noisemakers, books, videos, bath toys, furniture, and a whole host of other toys that should keep him busy for a very long time.
four years ago:
It's been two Christmases since Eric announced to his family that we'd be trying to enlarge our own little corner of the clan, and we've nothing to show for it.
five years ago:
Everybody in our little family is doing fine, and that's definitely reason to celebrate.
six years ago:
To this day, I can't decide whether I'm actually sick or just "faking it."
In the ears:
Dead silence

On the Bookshelf:

Gratuitous Sam
(Not until we return)

Extra Gabe
(Not until we return)


©1999-2003 C. Richmond.