August 4, 2010
We’ve officially run away. With no planning and little preparation. A spontaneous getaway to the faraway land of… Huntsville, Alabama! Just an hour and a half down the road, but it feels like a million miles away from cancer and sickness and impending surgeries.
John and had planned what we thought was a pretty spontaneous day trip to Huntsville last Friday night. I had seen an article in a magazine saying there was a cool Star Wars exhibit at the space museum and thought the kids would love it. After putting the kids to bed, we talked about getting up and jumping on the road early so we could get there and beat the crowds. About an hour later, Jake started throwing up. End of trip.
He had a nasty stomach virus, which put him pretty much out of commission for about three days, but he was fine to go to his first day of school on Tuesday. He was so cute. So proud of how “handsome” he looked in his new shirt (turns out another little boy in his class wore the same shirt that day!). So excited to carry his Lightening McQueen backpack and his Star Wars lunch box. He marched into his class and showed his teacher his new stuff and was smiling from ear to ear when I left. That’s my boy!
We had kept Tanner completely separated from Jake for the course of his virus. John and Tanner did all kinds of fun stuff and Jake and I hung around the house. We thought we had escaped Tanner getting it… until Tuesday night. She started throwing up at 8 pm and I was not far behind. Uggghhh. Let’s just say the girls did not fare as well as Jake did. It was awful! John stayed home from work all day Wednesday to care for Tanner, Jake and I and to liberally apply hand sanitizer and Lysol to avoid catching it himself. What a long week.
Sometime during the week – the particular day has faded from my memory – Jake also passed another milestone… he learned to ride his bike without training wheels. I took them off and after giving him a little push, he just rode away. No teaching, no hunching over and running behind the bike holding the seat… he just rode away and that was that. His balance is uncanny at three-and-a-half years old. Oh, did I mention he was wearing a batman cape at the time? Crazy.
So, today, I woke up and took Domino for a walk at a new park in Franklin that was once a horse farm. It’s about 56 acres of rolling green hills and dilapidated old barns. Just beautiful. It was cool and breezy and both of us came back rejuvenated. When I got home, John and the kids were headed out the door to go to downtown Franklin for frozen yogurt. I sat down on the sofa to check email and noticed that same magazine with the article about Huntsville. Suddenly, it seemed like the best idea in the world to run away for a night. Everyone was healthy for the moment, Tanner’s counts were good, it’s a short trip away from Vanderbilt… the stars were aligned. I called John on the phone and pitched the idea… he was in. I got the kids next door to take care of the dog, we threw some stuff in bags and we were out the door in an hour. It felt like we had escaped.
We arrived in Huntsville this afternoon and met my Aunt Debbie at the botanical gardens, which were beautiful and very fun. They had 12 tree houses throughout the gardens the kids could play on and scarecrows all over that had been decorated by local businesses. Super fun! Then, we checked into the hotel and went out to Huntsville’s awesome outdoor mall for pizza and a carousel ride. Back to the hotel and everyone’s in bed. Off to the Star Wars exhibit in the morning and then back home. Priceless.
This is the best way for us to do a vacation. Our best laid plans often end up in bitter disappointment and there are so many limitations. We just grabbed the opportunity because we could, and it has saved me from feeling like the beast had gotten the best of me.