We just got home Monday afternoon from a most excellent time in good ole Greenville, Ohio - my hometown. Baby brother Doug got married and I'll just have to save all those juicy details for another post. But we actually drove the 19+ hours all the way, without stopping at your friendly Holiday Inn...and lived to tell about it.
First of all, I have to say to all parents of young children out there - Heaven has a special place for those of us who have traveled in a mini-van over long distances with small people. Once the journey is complete, do you not feel as though you have waged a long and strenuous battle? Do you not carry the sweat, tears, and scars of one who has gone to edge of Hell and back??? Alright, enough melodrama.
But the one smart decision that probably kept us from driving into the Mississippi was the fact that we drove all night long, taking shifts. I would usually start the wheels on the bus somewhere between 7-8 PM (after the 3 hours it took to pack the bus to begin with, I'm so not joking) and drive until my head started bobbing, which was about 1:30 or 2 AM. Then Aaron would take the graveyard shift - 2 to 5 or 6 AM. The children would blissfully sleep until about 7 or 8 AM, and by then there would only be a few hours left in the trip.
Now, for Aaron - his weapon of choice in the stay-awake-or-die department is sunflower seeds. I have no idea what the magic is in these seeds, but they simply give him something to work on, to keep him from diving into a coma. He is also fond of beef jerky. He says it balances the salt of the seeds. All I know is, my mini-van is already funky enough by this time to do without the scent of the "manly snack".
I choose the tunes, baby. Give me even just a radio and I'm good for at least a couple hours. On this trip, the country stations were plentiful, so I had fun listening to all the latest hits in honky-tonk land. One of my favorites was Carrie Underwood (newest American Idol) singing, "Jesus, Take The Wheel"- appropriate, eh? I couldn't really sing as loud as I wanted to with all my boys catching zzz's, so I just lip-synced my little heart out on I-55. I also liked Brad Paisley's "When I Get to Where I'm Going" (doncha love these titles?) about Heaven. Love the part where he talks about his Grandpa.
Have you ever driven in complete blackness, one straight strip of road, for hours on end? Man, it's hard. And sometimes life is that way. It feels like the daylight will never come; life will always be like this. You wonder when there will be a rest stop, a change of scenery - anything but the road you're on. But try to enjoy the music God provides during the journey and hang in there...I think I see the Golden Arches up ahead!