Monday, March 12, 2012

The Car Ride

A dark night. A quiet road….the perfect recipe for something to go wrong.

There I was with my family driving home from a night at my parents house. It was  a great night. Todd and I were able to get away for a date night and had a wonderful dinner together. The kids had a blast (as usual) playing with my parents.
So around 8:30 p.m. we packed up everyone in my new van. Last month Todd and I bought a new Honda Odyssey and as all my friends and family know…I’m in love with this van. It’s the first car I have ever bought that is completely loaded. You never know its possible to love a car until you can leave your iPhone in your purse and it magically will play without being plugged in. The love for a new van begins about the time your butt is first warmed by the heated seat....

But I digress. So there we were loading up the van. I put J and H in the way back and buckled them in. I gave them their pillows and blankets as I knew they would certainly pass out from all the fun they had at their Nana and Opa’s house. And as my luck would have it my kids were picky about what blanket they wanted: “I want the Iowa one, that’s my blanket…etc. etc. etc.” So I threw in about every blanket in my van, put on Toy Story on the DVD player. Made sure L was ready to go and off we went.
Now I usually love car rides home at night with my family. My kids usually pass out by the time we pass the Dairy Queen in my small town, and so Todd and I usually just talk or listen to some music. It’s a quiet opportunity to relax, hang out with my husband, and just veg out for the hour long drive.

We got on the interstate. It was pitch black, quiet, calm. I put on my favorite Adele album and Todd and I just talked about random things.

Suddenly a small voice from the back…muffled and quiet came from H.
“What?” I said. It was repeated but I still couldn't hear him. I turned down my stereo and said “WHAT?” again. Still couldn't hear him, so I thought...well I guess it is not that important.

But oh was it important as my little H was warning me about what was to come. About 2.2 seconds later my princess Diva of a daughter was screaming…”EEEWW He’s throwing up…Mommy he’s throwing up”.
It’s about that time, that reality kicked in and I learned the lesson that when a four year old little voice says something you can't hear, make sure you hear it! When my husband turned on the lights in the van, there was H throwing up all over my new van. Luckily we weren’t that far from the gas station and so we pulled over. We pulled in, J was seeking someone to acknowledge that she was wronged as she was thrown up on, Todd said he was starting to feel sick too. Only L and I stayed calm…he because Buzz Lightyear was entertaining him. Me, because well there was no one else.

It was one of those times where you just don’t know where to begin to clean up the mess. Thankfully due to the Blanketgate battle between my kids I had about 5 blankets in the back so the blankets took the brunt force. But still, H had thrown up a lot and it was all over.

About ½ hour later, three trips in and out of the gas station, 2 eye rolls toward my husband when he said they didn’t have cleaners or garbage bags in there, and one “I saved my brother” speech from J after she realized that she alone alerted me to the mess, I had him and the van somewhat cleaned up.

As I held another Walmart bag out for H to again throw up in, my husband walked away and said “I don’t know how you do that” feeling the twinges of his own stomach flu about to hit.

I love when people say that…”I don’t know how you do it”…I mean come on, what were my options? I’m his mother. It’s my job to get puked on apparently. And come on...does the person who's holding the barf bag every really have a choice???

When H finally had a little more color to his cheeks, I walked him into the gas station bathroom to clean up (again). He started to cry. ‘Mommy I ruined your new van”. I can imagine why his tears were so strong. I mean after all, I was still somewhat in the honeymoon phase of my van…you know the phase where you tell everyone they can’t eat or drink in your car, wear their dirty shoes, or climb on the seats. So I bet to my little 4 year old, he thought he committed a cardinal sin that would land him in time out forever.

He was relieved when I just smiled at him and gave him a huge hug. I grabbed his shoulders and said “Hey, no big deal H. I mean you throw up in every one of my cars, so hey at least we got that over with now right?”

Yep, that’s the job of a Mom. We get thrown up on, watch our new car get slimed, and yet, the anger we think we would feel in a situation, we don’t have. All I felt in that situation was helplessness that I still had to get my little boy home and we had 45 minutes to go.
I climbed in the back seat with H, for two reasons: (1) I wanted to comfort him and catch anything else and (2) because I knew J would surely need a therapist if she was forced to get thrown up on again. In the back, I sang to H, rubbed his head, adjusted the large garbage bag we managed to find and drape over H like a bib. I popped Altoids consistently in my mouth to try and drown out the smell.

And you know what? Still in all of that there was no place I’d rather be. We got home just fine. Cleaned up the mess on the kitchen floor that happened after H got sick yet again, tucked him in, and as I hugged him I heard him say his little “I love you Momma”.

There it is. "I love you Momma". If my husband wasn't in the bathroom dealing with his own stomach flu I would have told him those four words right there are the reason why Moms can do what we do. We'll get thrown up on, we'll be tired beyond belief, we'll put up with crabby toddlers...all usually without notice or appreciation. But we do it because of those four words. Plain and simple. 

And yes, I tried to remember this as I spent my Sunday scrubbing up the remains of the joyous car ride with the car wash spot cleaner! 


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