"Ad astra per aspera" - To the stars through difficulties

Remember how life happens?

I had great plans to write about what had been happening, but it happened so quickly, and this mortal body of mine needs rest sometimes, so by the end of the days, i was too exhausted to write and just promised myself I would record the wonderful events of the day in the morning.

I am the greatest liar to myself.

And so, many days have passed, and I sheepishly come, tail between my legs, begging my memory to open its great vault and let some memory of the past few days out and onto this paper... er, computer screen.

Monday night my mother told me she was going to Kansas to visit my brother.  I haven't seen him since last May, and so wanted to come.  We tried and tried to figure out a way for me to be able to go with them, but nothing seemed to be working out.  Finally, Jeffrey came through and figured everything out for me.  He would take off a day of work, and I would be able to go on the 16 hour drive in a little car with my mother whom I fight with like I am still a teenager.  But it would be worth it.

In preparation, on Wednesday the kids and I had a very lazy day.  We spent a few hours perusing and loving the books at the library, eventually deciding on a few to adopt and take home for a couple of weeks.  We went to the grocery store for some groceries, and then we went home.

While I was making lunch, trying to enjoy every second with those kiddos because I knew it would be a good long four days before I got to see them again, Keith said "Mom, lazy days are my favorite!"  I was happy I could unintentionally give him his favorite day.  I felt rushed around, but I was very glad he didn't.

While they were napping, I got started on my surprise for them.  When we were at the grocery store, I had stealthily slipped a few things in the cart while they weren't looking.  Like a toddler sneaks surprises in when his mother isn't looking, I got away with it.  I pulled the surprises out, filled some Chinese take out boxes  with them, and made sweet little cards to go with.  I taped a candy bar on top, and hid them in my closet.  I  wish I had taken a picture of them, but I was in a hurry and forgot.  I also did the same for Jeffrey, but his surprises were slightly different than the kids.

One of his favorite activities to do is P.T.B.  Which comes from a show we once saw together.  The couple was asking what they wanted to do that night, and the response was "I don't know.  Pizza, telly and beer?"  Since we don't drink beer, we adopted root beer, and after the kids are in bed, he loves eating a pizza, watching a show with me and drinking root beer.  So I stocked up on frozen pizza for him (one for each night I would be gone), as well as bacon, steaks and root beer.  I am vegetarian, he is not.  I hid the meat and pizza in the freezer, all wrapped up and tied with a pretty bow.  I hid the root beer elsewhere, and then left a movie (wrapped up, of course) with a note attached directing him to his treasures, with instructions he was to hide the kids' things and have them also go on a hunt for them.  Because I was going to miss them terribly, and wanted to leave a little momento of how much I love them.

I glanced at the clock and saw it was nearly five, which meant I needed to get dinner started.  Wrapping and crafting cards and hiding things took a lot longer than I had anticipated.

For dinner, I made Jeffrey's favorite.  Spaghetti Amore.  And then I realized the kids were still napping, and I hadn't even begun the laundry.  If I wanted to have clean clothes, for my trip, I really needed to get some laundry done.  I woke up the kids, and then began the laundry.

By 9 o'clock, I still hadn't packed.  Because I love going on trips, but I hate packing.  I don't like deciding what I am going to wear a week in advance.  Even two days in advance.  Some mornings I have a hard time deciding what to wear for that self same day and asking me to decide a weeks worth of clothes all at once is just too hard!

By midnight the clothes were all washed, and I was mostly packed, and I decided to go to bed.  I needed to be up by 4:00 the next morning so I could be out the door by 4:30 so we could be on the road to beautiful Kansas by 5.

And so here I sit, in my brother's kitchen with time on my hands.  I don't have my kids around me, my brother's kids are in school except one who is happily playing with his grandfather, and I don't have laundry, or rooms to clean, or anything at all to do.  It is sort of nice, but I don't really know what to do with myself.  Read, I guess.

I must say, Wyoming is surprisingly pretty in a wild deserted sort of way.  There are pockets of surprise here and there.  Nebraska was lovely.  Windy and warm (59*!) and with such lovely gentle hills, and trees strategically placed as wind barriers.  The sky is so big out there!  I have never seen such a huge sky.  It went on forever, and the hills went on forever and ever.  And the sky was clean, and deep and blue and I am madly in love with Nebraska.  Eastern Colorado, of course, is beautiful.  I have had a love affair with Colorado for many years now.  I lived for a few years near Vail.  It is hard to not love Colorado after living in the bosom of the mountaintops.  But Kansas?  Granted it was after dark by the time we got here, but Kansas is the most boring place to drive through.  There is nothing to look at.  Nothing to break up the scenery.  Again, it was dark as we drove, so I may be a little prejudiced, but all I could see were flat fields or plains.  Whatever you want to call them.  And windmills.  Lots and lots of windmills.  Nothing else.  Here and there a town would pop up.  A Super Walmart in every town we passed, it seemed.  A true American town, I guess, if the criteria to pass as true American is to have a Super Walmart crowning each little development.

But I will be happy to be proven wrong.  The day really has just begun and there is so much to be done and seen today.  I am excited for school to get out and everyone to be around, and the warmth and joy of family to permeate my stay here.

Besides, in and of itself, this is the first time in my working memory I have been East of Denver.  When I was a baby my family went on a vacation to DC, but I don't think it counts because I remember nothing of it.  This is the first time I will have working memory of going East of Denver, and I am so excited about it!  Now I can say I have been as far East as Kansas!  I know, living life on the edge, right?  Besides, the state motto very well could be my own; "Ad astra per aspera" - To the stars through difficulties.  Lovely and full of hope, isn't it?


Lisa said…
ENJOY your vacation! You are a WONDERFUL mother, and you deserve some me time! Love your guts! :)
Mare said…
Give them all a hug for me! Funny - I can't stand Nebraska - in our family it is known as "the state that never ends". You start driving through it in the am, and you are still in it, come nightfall. :) Happy travels.
Myya said…
Have a wonderful time with your brother & his family. Sometimes getting away is just what a mama needs. I'm sure you are going to savor those sweet kiddos of yours even more when you get home & that will be such a gift. I know for me that bit of a recharge makes me a better mom for sure!
You should try birch beer! Like root beer, only better, and fantastic with pizza.

The special touches you give things inspire me. I wish I could remember to do things like that!
Jenny said…

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I wrote a comment. Let's see if this works.
Jenny said…
Okay, now that works.

I think the mis-link is in the profile. I can get on just fine when I come this way. Although I did get that above error three times in a row first.


You go and have fun and don't feel guilty.

You are a wonderful Mom.

You need a few lazy days for you!

Susan Anderson said…
Have a great time and replenish your reserves!

Emmy said…
So glad you got to make that trip. And no you aren't mistaken about Kansas- so so boring to drive through. I have made the drive (or been part of the drive as I only actually drove it three times) from Illinois to Utah and yea it is boring.

Hope you enjoy your trip!

And what a sweet thing you did for your kids and husband before you left.

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