Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Four sleep-rumpled kids spilled from a minivan all in various stages of bare-footed sandal
chasing and clothes smoothing and stretching and yawning. We watched them from our van across the gas station parking lot and began to imagine their story.
"Look, I said, "they are on vacation."
"There are four kids! Nope, five, the mom has one on her hip."
"Definitely on vacation," said another, " look at the sweats and the comfy clothes they are all wearing."
"What's that thing attached to the top of the car designed to carry? A suitcase or two?"
"Look, the dad is pumping gas."
"Wonder how far they've traveled?"
The last comment led to a guessing game about what state would be represented on the license plate of their van. My man guessed Pennsylvania or Michigan. I thought they looked a bit more travel-weary and so guessed Indiana. Cole thought Wisconsin which seemed far-fetched but not out of the realm of possibilities. It was, we discovered after a slow drive by, Oklahoma! Impressive.
We were at the gas station at the beginning of our journey with a much shorter trip ahead. We'd been awaiting this day on the calendar with great anticipation, not knowing until recently what we'd be doing or where we'd go adventuring. The day, known among our family as The First Day of Vacation, or VEEcation as most of the children have pronounced that magnificent word at one point or another in their young lives.
Molly woke us the night before, a little bit after midnight, telling us that she just couldn't sleep because she was ready to go. I let her climb into bed beside me but her constant vacation chatter earned her a trip back to her own bed on the Daddy Express. She awoke bright and early the next morning still raring to go. Unfortunately for Molly, we'd planned to proceed at a slow, relaxed, we're-on-vacation-and-off-the-clock pace. After many failed attempts to reconcile her sense of urgency to our lack thereof, she marched into the room asking, "WHEN is it time for us to be ON VEECATION?!?!"
Poor gal. For her, ON VEECATION! was not a state of being like it was for the rest of us, it was to her a place, and preferably a place that came with a hotel room and a pool.
We gave her job after job, running her up and down the stairs getting this thing and that, carrying messages from parent to sibling, and clothes from dryer to suitcase attempting to make time pass more quickly for her.
Eventually, she was able to stand it no longer and her Dad, with a grin born of favorite memories, loaded Molly into the van, well before the time would come for us to depart. She buckled her seat belt, and relaxed...a little. We used to have to do the same thing when Megan was the little girl who would not rest until placed in her car seat sometimes hours before a trip began.
Van packed, lights turned off (or were they?), and doors locked, the rest of us joined Molly and we were off, stopping first at the gas station where we saw the vacationing family with five kids and the mamma and the daddy and the minivan from Oklahoma. We stared at them from the comfort of our car, giggling because we knew what the experience inside of that van resembled, we had only to look at ourselves.
As our van pulled out of the gas station and headed west, I announced, "Molly, we are officially on vacation."
"Good!" She said with audible relief, "I'm gonna take a nap now."