It’s a semi-charmed kinda life…
I’ve decided to write about the highlights and the lowlights. Because I don’t want to give any wrong impressions. Because for those of you following this adventure along, I want you to know that most times with four kids are the best of times and the worst of times whether we are home on the range or living out our dream of showing our children the world. This adventure is exactly where we want to be and it is chaos and perfection and I love it. I will do my best to give you the uncut version of how it feels to travel with and raise and love and be driven crazy by four humans, all with whom I have spent nearly every day of their lives, thus far.
So, after months of dreaming and weeks of planning and days of cleaning and errand-running and packing, we left Nashville around 10:30 on Wednesday morning. I was up packing and laundrying and reading (I know. I know.) until 3 the night before but Chaz helped us out the door and after long hugs and a few tears, we were off to pick up our guest of honor and drive to our first stop in Mt. Airy, the little town in North Carolina that inspired the Andy Griffith show.
Mt. Airy is a time capsule, my favorite kind of town, but alas, being the time capsule town it is, everything was closed by the time we arrived. We window shopped and the kids found an alley to explore and we were fascinated and only a little bummed that every door and window in the entire town was locked.
My third child struggled mightily for most of the car ride there and on into the evening and I am still not sure what happened to cause so many extra tears. My heart and brain both needed naps by the time that boy finally drifted off to sleep in his hotel bed with the crisp white sheets and the giant, fluffy pillows. I love him so much and his highs and lows call forth every ounce of joy and patience and compassion which dwell within me.
So with everything closed last night, we picnicked at the pool instead and swam out all of the energy we had stored up on our long drive through Tennessee and into North Carolina. The sky turned shades of pink and orange as the sun slowly sank into the trees that bordered the pool, the children’s laughter rang out and I swam with them too.
We bathed and read and snuggled and my heart felt gratitude to end the day that way.
Haven Girl tossed and turned until eleven when I finally convinced her to be perfectly quiet and perfectly still because then her body could rest. She did and I was right and she was asleep in 90 seconds and I thanked the tiny little baby Jesus for my few stolen moments of silence.
And then it was midnight (or was it one?) and I slept, sort of, because my younger two tossed and turned and cried out all night. Somehow I still woke up feeling rested and for that I gave thanks once again.
We started the day with a great hotel breakfast and a two hour drive. (Back roads from Mt.Airy to Durham because I had unintentionally set my Google map app to “avoid highways” and not had the forethought to look ahead three turns to see where we were headed. Tempting to call this a mistake. Decided we’d call it “the scenic route” instead).
Arrived at Duke University after lunchtime only to stay lost for an hour and to find that every parking lot in the entire town of Durham was full, reserved or permit only. Gave up on Plan A and left the kids in the car with their Gmommy while I took a short, blissful tour of Duke’s stunning cathedral. (See my instagram or Facebook for pics of this and more as we mosey up the coast.) Beautiful town, loved our driving tour and our Plan B.
Drove five more hours to a private beach on the coast of Virginia. Had several pep talks with the four humans I am raising to remind them to be KIND and PATIENT, to work as a team and not whine ever never ever. Kissed several boo-boos when the younger two fell while we were running laps at our rest stop. Visited several not so clean bathrooms along the way…
Ate dinner in the coziest little town with a library and community art center across the street from the restaurant and an old drug store and post office down from that. Swooned at the sight of the library and had to practice tremendous self control not to drag everyone into it the moment we stopped the car.
Ended our day with the buggiest walk in the history of mankind to the ocean where we watched the sky gradually turn darker shades of gray, found shells and crabs and coral, dipped our toes in the warm Atlantic and listened to Haven shriek with laughter as she ran into the water, away from the waves, into the water, away from the waves, into the water…
Waded through the bugs once more to return to our cottage and dole out vitamins and cough drops to my three who are coughing. Washed sandy shoes and feet before PJs, card games and snuggles, by then 9pm. Read Watership Down to the munchkins, nearly burst with joy as my younger two gave each other a marathon goodnight hug, then collapsed into this lumpy bed beside my favorite three year old in the whole entire universe.
Our cottage here is cozy. The weather is sticky and hot. The ocean is minutes from our screened in porch. Eighty percent of the bug population living east of the Mississippi live in the one block radius in which we have decided to spend the next three days. I am enjoying the company of my mother-in-law very much and cherishing the uninterrupted quiet time (which google just changed to “quitting time”. Hmm…) with my four little humans.
We are safe. We are learning. We are together. And we are counting down the days until our other favorite person joins us in New York next week.
Happy trails. Full heart. Good night. ❤