Our morning started early. 6:00am. It’s the big day. Everyone is packed, the house is clean, really clean, and I am trying really hard to not have a meltdown in front of the children. The children are all awake and so excited. They keep assuring me they will be fine and not to worry about them. But I’m a Mom. That’s just what I do sometimes. So with everybody dressed, fed and in the van, we head to our friends house that will be watching the children for the 9 days that we are gone. The children all chattering happily, while I am having second, no third, ok maybe the thousandth thought that this was a bad idea. But then I keep reminding myself that I am a wife first and Mommy second. And since I seem to be the only person questioning this whole trip, I need to get my act together.
My night had been restless and mostly sleepless. Getting to bed after midnight. Going through all the check lists that needed to be done, over and over in my mind. Thinking about the children and already missing them. My bed too. Since we bought our new memory foam mattress this last fall, I have become some what of a bed snob. I love my mattress. Really love my mattress. And the thought of having to sleep on a bed that could be uncomfortable, especially being 5 months pregnant, makes me a bit restless. So this is mostly what my 6 hours that I should have been sleeping made up for.
Dropping off the children was not nearly as dramatic as I has thought it might be. They were so excited to send us off. They had big plans for the next 9 days. Horse rides, hikes, surprises in store that they were anticipating, and all with a family that they feel very safe and secure with. Maryann has fallen head over heels with the oldest. Seth. He has won her little heart and she has him wrapped around her little finger. It’s been really funny to watch. Mostly because he’s 18 years older than her. We tease Seth that he’s got to find an older girl for a wife! But it’s all in good humor. And Maryann is happy to move into “Seth’s”house.
Gabe is the one that I am really worried about. I think everybody else understands to some degree what is getting ready to happen. That we will be gone for 9 days, but that we are coming back and life will resume to normal. But Gabe won’t get it. Mommy drops him off, and then just vanishes. Nine days will be an eternity to him. And there’s a bigger issue at hand between Gabe and I. He has been by far our most challenging child at this age. After having five children, one would think that I could take on just about any child behavior. From stubbornness to tantrums, I thought that I had seen it all. So much so, that Maryann had seemed somewhat of an “easy” child. I thought I finally had this whole thing down. Wrong. Very, very wrong. Along came Gabriel. With a stubborn streak worse than all our other children put together, he has pushed me to new levels of parenting. This is a child who would not walk, not because he couldn’t or didn’t know how, but because he was making the choice not to walk. And the day he decided to walk, he walked, Talking has been the same. He can talk. I have heard him when he thinks no one is listening. But he will not speak to me. Not even “Mama” or “Dada”. Yet, when I work with Michael on his reading, and Gabe is sitting on the floor playing, he will copy every sound that I ask Michael to make. But he is oblivious that I am listening, amazed, because the minuet I say “Gabe, say Mama.” He clams up. Won’t say a peep. Won’t even try. I joked with Eric the night before we left, as I carried Gabe upstairs to bed, that he would be talking when we came back, and Gabe made a noise that sounded like “Uh huh!” Eric and I looked at each other and just laughed. So we will see. My concern with leaving Gabriel behind is how much ground I will loose. Eric has assured me we (both Gabe and I) will survive.
I survived dropping off the children without having a complete meltdown, although barely. Our trip to Portland was very uneventful. We stopped for a quick breakfast and a trip to the pharmacy for some cough drops and Airborne. Eric had a little cough and we wanted to make sure it didn’t get worse. We made our flight, had a layover in Salt Lake City, and arrived in New Orleans about 10:00 p.m. Saturday night. The day before the 44th Superbowl with the Saints playing the Colts. Neither of us had really given it much thought up until we got to our hotel. It was close to midnight, and there were people everywhere. Everyone was wearing Saint’s clothing and draped in the Mardi Gras necklaces. There was an excitement in the air that I have never seen before. The Saints were going to win. Everybody in New Orleans knew this and the parties were already underway. Our hotel was just a few streets away from Bourbon Street, the most popular street to be during Mardi Gras. But this wasn’t Mardi Gras partying. This was pre-Superbowl parting.
We found a restaurant close by our hotel and ate dinner at almost 11:00 that night. Our waitress was amazing. Happy, observant, and cheerful. Not what we normally experience eating out. It seems like more often than not, the waitress is in such a bad mood. Annoyed that we ordered, annoyed that we drank all our water and need a refill, annoyed that she has to take my dirty plate. But not here. This lady was amazing. Watching the other employees in the restaurant, it seemed to be the attitude of everyone. Refreshing, very very refreshing!
Our hotel was fabulous. The bed was amazing. Right up there next to mine. 😉 The view from our room was impressive too. All the little toiletries in the bathroom were from the Spa line at Bath and Body Works. I think it was the first night in many, many years that I actually slept through the whole night. My head hit the pillow and I did not open my eyes until Eric woke me the next morning to look out the window at a Superbowl parade.
**pics to come starting tomorrow**