Thursday, January 22, 2015

Turn around baby Sam and let Mommy write her last thoughts and wishes on your diaper in case we don't make it out of here alive

I spent the weekend smelling like wood smoke, Arkansas and fried food.  And my hands and face are swollen like I lived the high life for days when really I just couldn't sleep for 2 nights in a row and ate bacon for breakfast.

Because husband planned a last minute trip for the family and what should've been a 4 hour trip Friday evening turned into 6.  Or more in mom years if you count the times brothers fought and told each other to jump out of the moving car.  

So we left the house at 3pm Friday and finally arrived looking like a bunch of drunken sailors stumbling around for a bed somewhere near 10ish.  

I didn't take pictures while lost for about an hour in the seedy streets of scary town Shreveport, Louisiana.  Because the flash may have attracted attention.  And in case you regularly make trips there to the casinos... just know that there ARE streets on the backsides of those places that the city doesn't want you to know about.  That's what exiting too soon off the freeway will get you.  So hold your horses in Shreveport and take the last possible exit, y'all.  

(I remember when the kids were little bitty and we were driving from Dallas to Florida by way of Graceland to pay our respects to Elvis.  And we took the wrong exit in our Honda minivan in the mean streets of Memphis and quickly started drafting our wills on whatever paper we could find.  Turn around baby Sam and let Mommy write her last thoughts and wishes on your diaper in case we don't make it out of here alive.  And we never did actually get to go inside Graceland because it costs a whole lot to see the inside of Elvis's house, but it seemed lovely, but smallish,  from the outside when we finally arrived.)

So some time around dark-thirty o'clock Friday, we finally got out of the bail bond and late night fried chicken establishments of Shreveport and headed toward the cabin.  And it turns out that dark freeways in rural Arkansas are just a whole lot darker than dark freeways in Big D.  And we were running low on gas so husband filled us up at the Quick Draw gas station/casino/convenient Subway sandwich shop in case you get hungry playing the slots.  And then we drove around lost some more and I told him that this is a lot like that episode of Twilight Zone where the family drives forever on a dark deserted highway to nowhere.  But husband claims there never was such a Twilight Zone episode ...... until now, y'all.    

So we pulled over to the side of the road and pulled out the old fashioned paper map for some real directions.  And I was scared and texted a friend so that someone would know our general whereabouts in case Bigfoot came running out and carried our car back with him into those woods right beside me.

And about 10 hours later this is us...

Finally at the state park... after getting into the lock box that holds the cabin keys for after hours guests.  But the daytime park ranger made a big ol' cabin mistake and gave our keys to another family already tucked in and cozy in cabin 3.  And we know this because we drove to cabin 3 that was supposed to be ours, and saw them in the window looking warm.  So we promptly left them alone and backed our car into a tree.  Hard enough to bust open the gallon of milk we had just bought at the Eldorado, Arkansas super Walmart.

But we finally ended up in cabin 5 which was awesome for the boys because it was just a hop, skip and a jump away from the camp store that they love because of the huge variety of junk food available for purchase.

And all was okay with the world the next morning because of the Cartoon Network, rented bikes and lots of sunshine.  

And we try to get away like this because we've noticed that when we leave the world behind even for a short time, we become a family again.  When we take away the schedules and the friends and the video games and all that binds our minds and hearts most days, we have time to be together and get to know each other a little better again. 

But I still stood outside that cabin Saturday night trying to feel some sort of encouragement.  Some sort of overwhelming emotion about it all, but I didn't.  And I was really okay about that.  Because what I've learned probably the most over the last years of raising big kids... is that emotions aren't always a reliable gauge of love.  Lucky for them and for me, really.

And I could see more stars in the sky that night than I even remembered were there.  And I had to wonder how the God of such brilliance, who could choose to focus his eyes on the dazzle and beauty of his creation,  can look beyond the glow of all of Heaven... and see me in the dark night with not much special glowing in my heart.

And I didn't get a loud answer.  But I got the sounds of opening candy wrappers and 3 boys and a dad talking by the campfire that told me that these 4 people are my answer.  That even in the darkness God sees me -  even with a soul that seems to have lost some of its sparkle.

post script... When I was about the middle of high school maybe, probably with a broken heart or difficulty at home, I remember a friend telling me that my eyes had lost their sparkle.  How funny that I still remember those words... and that exact moment.  But we can't sparkle all the time, y'all.  I don't expect to.  It just wouldn't be normal, and it might even require medication.  But there's plenty still out there that does.  Filling in the blanks for us when we're on a lights out vacation.

post script #2.... straight from the new magazine State Park Vogue...  this is what all the ladies were wearing at the park we were at this past weekend.  

And I mean all the ladies, because I was the only one I saw the whole time.  Other than the female park ranger that sold my kids all that candy.  

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  1. Christi Harris-LazaroJanuary 21, 2015 at 12:45 PM

    That's exactly why I love getting away with the kids, even just a couple of hours away any time I see the chance. It does take you back to being a family, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, which is pretty hectic these days. Those trips make the best memories, good and bad.��


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