Road trips are fun.
You pick out your favorite candy, you stop for coffee, you take scenic routes and get out and do cartwheels. They’re the best! You have a reason to ask silly questions and take selfies and blast music that you haven’t listened to since high school.
If I just described a road trip that sounds familiar to you or one that you have taken recently then I will undoubtedly arrive at the assumption that you have zero babies riding in the car with you. Everything dear that I once felt about car rides has been turned upside down. I still pick out my favorite candy, but I shove it into my mouth all at once while hiding under the seat so that my toddler doesn’t see it and then demand yet another “SHNACK!” I drink coffee with a fear in the pit of my stomach that it’s somehow going to make my nursing baby stay awake for hours hyped up on caffeine. We either don’t stop when we need to for fear of waking them up or we stop way more often than we need to because someone pooped or just needs to run out their crazies for a few (longer than we anticipated) minutes. Phil and I no longer ask silly questions or get into drawn out conversations because we have become excellent pantomimers in attempts to be the quietest we can be. And lastly, we only dare blast any sort of music if it is Coldplay’s Ghost Stories album because for whatever reason Chris Martin is a favorite of Jude’s and Magic has calmed her down since infancy. We are forever your debt, Chris. Another reason to blast music is if nothing else has worked and now we are just in the business of drowning out the screams.
Whew. If any of THIS resonates with you then I will assume that you do, in fact, have children.
Phil, the kids, and I packed up our car and headed to Kentucky last week for a fun vacation at Nawny and Pops’ house. (My parents.) We knew that Judeth has always had a hatred for the car and we figured that since Samuel hardly ever rides in it that he too wouldn’t be thrilled. Thus, we decided to drive through the night. Surely they’ll sleep we thought. Maybe we’ll have a few tough hours and of course it will be hard on us, but they’ll sleep. Right? Wrong.
I’ll spare you all of the details but let’s just say that after babbling, kicking, yelling “BUBBAAAA” trying to wake Sam up, and a 30 minute stay in a hotel room later, Jude finally gave in and fell asleep at 5:15 AM. FIVE FIFTEEN A M! Home girl stayed up all night and was totally loving it. We pulled into the driveway at 8:30am in Elizabethtown, handed the babies to my parents and went straight to bed.
We did have a wonderful time with my parents and my brother Lance and it was so great getting to see some friends, but 2 days into our trip Samuel started having diarrhea and developed the worst diaper rash I have ever seen. He continued to be sick the entire trip (still is) and created a lot of stressful moments for this mama. At the same time that Sam got sick, Phil needed to fly to Philadelphia to attend and give the eulogy at his grandmother’s funeral. He was gone loving on his family for 3 days while Sam was at the peak of explosions. I’m so thankful that during all of this my mom and dad were so gracious to help me and to continue loving their time with Jude and cuddling Sam in between diaper changes.
We made the trek back, knowing that Sam was still dealing with this and that it would be a long day. 5 episodes of Daniel Tiger, 4 of Curious George, 1 1/2 viewings of How to Train Your Dragon, and 16 dirty diapers later we finally made it home. And what was waiting for us? Our dear friends with pizza, wings, and hands and hearts ready to help us unload and get babies in bed.
I will be honest with you guys, I had some pretty dark moments of hysteria and anxiety on this trip. I couldn’t understand why, after having several tough situations happen to us over the last few months, that God would allow our one vacation time with my family to be consumed by no sleep, death of a loved one, and endless poopy diapers. Does God care about these things? I kept asking myself this and I kept asking him this. Through tears I cried out for help and felt so abandoned and alone. Not cared for by my Father who is supposed to care. See, to me, in those moments, God caring for me looks like silencing babies and plugging up their booties. It looks like people not dying, especially not on my vacation. It looks like me having all the time in the world to visit with friends and family, but also to sleep and work and shop and do whatever I want to do. And that’s because my view of God caring and looking out for me is warped by my selfish desires and plans. Surely he could show his love for me in these specific ways that I command him to, right?
So often I only want to trust God in the moments that I see him providing for me in ways that I think I need provision in that situation. But the truth is that God has already provided for me and cared for me in ways that are far greater than a restful night or a settled baby’s tummy. He has paid for and covered my sins. He calls me his daughter and he has made me new. How little the credit that I give him when I reduce him down to simple favors that I think I need so badly in my impatient moments of motherhood. Don’t hear me wrong, this doesn’t mean that these things aren’t hard or that from now on I will brush them off as soon as they appear. They are hard and they are messy and many more tears will be shed. But through it all I can know 100% that I do have a God who loves me. He cares for me in the big stuff and the small stuff, even when it doesn’t seem like it. He notices the details and he is still there, even if he’s quiet. I must learn to sometimes just be quiet with him. Sit with him. And know that I am loved.
This was an enormous blog post, I apologize. Now, I’ll shut up and give you what I’m actually good at…the photos! (If you’ve even made it this far...hi mom!)
>>These first square photos are shot with my iPhone<<