One stressed out mom.
Two conflicted kids.
One poopy dog.
One aging mini van.
And seventeen hundred miles to drive.
It all adds up to...
I have to say, this trip couldn't have gone any better than it did. The weather was beautiful, the traffic was light, and the kids were pretty damn good. In fact, for the first twenty-six hours of our trip, they were angels. We had a couple of yelling moments in the home stretch, but I really couldn't have asked for more from two little kids.
I have to give myself a little credit too. I went into the whole thing with a very laid back (and unlike me) attitude and it worked out very well. I've learned a lot from the last two years that we've done this trip. And I'm raising some pretty damn good kids here.
Speaking of which, I will be raising them on my own for a few months now. Actually, that's not quite right. I may be the only parent who is with them, but my husband and I are still very much a team. Part of the team is just a little far away right now.
We dropped him off at the airport and said our goodbyes with surprisingly little drama. We briefed the kids on exactly how it would go down and that helped a lot. My husband isn't big on goodbyes and my daughter in particular has felt short-changed in the past. But having a goodbye plan helped a lot.
So did an immediate distraction of driving to Grandma and Grandpa's house. I highly suggest having a nice, distracting vacation planned for your kids whenever they have to deal with a separation.
As for my husband, in the days leading up to this deployment, he got quite sad. I've never really seen him that way before. It was like we had switched roles. But both of our mothers got emotional on the phone with him. And my daughter has been asking, "Why?" and "Why you?" for weeks. Mostly, he just wanted to go on this vacation with us.
I have so much more to say, but only so many firing braincells at the moment. So I'll save more stories for another day.
Most importantly, we've arrived safely. And my husband arrived at his pre-Iraq training safely. We're apart for now, but life goes on, supported by those who love us.