foster care

Vacation

Given that we now had two little ones, we decided to take a road trip as a vacation. Two weeks in a compact car and 4000 miles in total. At the time, Mason had just turned 3 and Lucas was 7 months. We did a few test road trips, with the longest being five hours. We reassessed a few things. . . do not put two car seats next to each other, find activities to keep kids busy (ha ha ha), perfect the reach around bottle hand off to the infant, and carry lots of snacks.

Bio parents had already gone missing so we had to have a court order allowing us to take them out of the state. We had to provide addresses and dates for where we were staying. We rented AirBnBs because it was the easiest option for a family. We had a travel pack and play which is a bit smaller than the normal pack and play.

I packed that car so tight we couldn’t fit one more thing. I had diapers crammed into the space between the spare tire and the trunk. I had formula under both front seats. I had the cooler on the floor between the car seats and a plastic container of books and toys between the boys. I hung plastic toy rings from the roof to entertain the baby.

And we left. At 4 am because websites said to drive when the kids slept. Joe and I put them in the car in their pajamas. Mason did NOT sleep one minute during the entire ten hour drive. His toys/activities kept him entertained for at most five minutes. Lucas did well, napping, cooing and crying for baba. Each stop required two diaper changes in less than ideal gas stations.

We saw ran around the Washington Monument, played in the pineapple fountain in Charleston, did silly dances at rest stops and introduced the kiddos to friends and family.

Then we got the text that the parents did not confirm for Tuesday’s visit. I laughed and texted back, “good thing because that would be an awfully long drive.”

Most people adored our kids and interacted well. My mom did not. My mom cancelled on us, didn’t meet us at the place we were supposed to go and finally we went to her the evening before we left my home town area. She chain smoked in front of the kids, told my 3 year old that she’s my only Mommy and threw her own tantrum when my grandmother gave me some childhood books for the kids.

I said some nasty words to her before we left and vowed never to speak to her again and we drove away. Little did I know, she would die two weeks later.

Joe, Mason, Lucas and I drove away, into the mountains for our own little retreat. We spent our one and only night in a hotel and I had Mason run around outside to try and tire him out. It didn’t work. He bounced from bed to bed and Joe and I sat bleary eyed waiting to go to sleep.

Mason usually goes to sleep at 7. I don’t think we ever made it to bed before 8 and the latest he stayed up was 9:30. We’d then have to tip toe around in hopes he slept in and wouldn’t be so cranky the next day.

We saw water falls and did some hiking. We bonded with the kids and showed them off proudly. We found out my beloved eldest cat had died at home and had some heart break on our last day in the mountains.

Then we headed home. We were going to drive through the night to get back. It was a huge mistake. 16 hours in the car, with the kids howling (who ever says kids sleep in the car has never met Mason), Joe cursing and me going, I can drive ya know. Mason had night terrors while sitting upright in the car seat as google maps kept saying it would take longer and longer to get home. Accidents closed roads and we kept on going. It was pure hell.

But we got home. And recovered for five days before I got the phone call about Mom.

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