Tuesday, October 27, 2009

family is FAMILY

I recently took a little trip to WV to visit some family. Let me just say, this trip wasn't easy, but I wouldn't trade those sleep deprivation filled days and nights for anything!

It was complete chaos. I flew out of Chicago Ohare (with little Brady) early Friday morning on a tiny commuter flight into Columbus, OH where my mom, sister and her 3 little ones picked me up in a rental van. We had 4 car seats jammed into this thing! I'm sure you can imagine what kind of noise and craziness might have occurred, but let me share a little with you anyway.

Although we used to drive from WV to Columbus (and vice versa) all the time to visit my cousins, mom decided to get directions from the guy at the rental car place, which turned out to be a HUGE mistake. We ended up driving across the entire state of Ohio the WRONG direction...with 4 children under the age of 4 years old!

I can remember asking at the 1 hour mark how we were doing on time. My mom was like, "Wait a minute, I don't remember Dayton being on the way to Parkersburg (WV)." "Well, mom, that's because it isn't on the way to Parkersburg. Please, don't tell me that you just drove over an hour the WRONG direction...please...."

Meanwhile, Jacob (4) is arguing with Grace (2) about sharing her blue marker for his picture because his blue marker was out of ink. Of course, Grace ONLY wanted to use the blue marker for her picture once she realized it was the only color Jacob didn't have and so desperately needed to complete his picture.

They ended up in a kicking and screaming match, which woke both Liberty (10 months) and Brady (4 months). Did I mention that Liberty HATES being in the car in her car seat? Did I mention she screams until she forces herself to vomit on herself and fall asleep? Well, yes. That's precious Liberty!

Six hours later, we arrived in Parkersburg at the Comfort Inn, a very plush Parkersburg hotel (well, okay...probably motel). We always stay there when we go for a visit. My great aunt Sarah has been living there for the past 10 years! They're really kind and helpful to her there.

I think I've failed to mention that it has been 10 years since we've had ALL (or almost all) of the family in town to visit at one time. Sadly, the last time we all there was for my grandmother's funeral. Sure, we've all been back for a day or two since then to visit grandpa, but never all together. He is approaching 90 years old (Sarah is too)! So we thought it would be really nice if we could all find a way to be there TOGETHER to celebrate moving into their 90's. Not to mention, grandpa has 4 great grandchildren and he has only briefly met 2 of them as babies.

From beginning to end, it wasn't easy. I had a joined room with my mom, sister and her 3 kids. Grace, Liberty and Brady don't all sleep through the night yet. Grace has night terrors, so she wakes up randomly screaming at the top of her lungs, which is AWFUL to wake up to. It's very difficult to wake her and soothe her after that. Then of course, the babies wake up afraid and decide, well, yeah...they're hungry too.

We packed a lot in those few short days. It was intense and exhausting. It was sad to see how they've aged; how lonely they are for family.

It made me realize, family is FAMILY. The good, the bad, the ugly; sacrifices are worth making to be there for one another. Memories of time spent together (even the stressful or sad times) are so worth making. We're all busy people in this day and age. We all have our priorities and immediate families to attend to, but I can say with certainty that being there to love and support family that's far away, aging, struggling, lonely or falling on hard times...WE are the ones that can truly make a difference. There's nothing like the love of a family.


Jen Vincent said...

Holy cow, that sounds like a crazy trip! Like you said, family is family though so it's totally worth it. My family and I drove to Vegas once (from Chicag) but my sister and I were in HS/college. We still have crazy memories from the trip. That's what it's all about, being together!

kelleidoscope said...

Crazy! But crazy makes the best memories. I spent the weekend flying, and it was quite the experience. Should have taken half the day and ended up taking until 11 at night! when I initally left at 6 in the morning. Crazy stuff.

Kelli Thompson said...

Thank you so much for your comments and for visiting my blog. I think I'm still trying to grasp that people actually visit this page. ;) Thanks again! Kelli