Uuuunnnnnhhhhhh.......we're here. I have come to some conclusions on this trip.
First, the drive from Bremerton, WA to Etna, CA (approximately 535 miles) is a bit like childbirth. It's long, it's painful, it's stressful. It completely drains all of your energy and leaves you recovering for days (okay, maybe one day). You'd like to have some sort of drug to get you through it, to just knock you out for the duration. But you know you're better off going natural so that you are all there for it, so you can concentrate and give 100%. And the end result of the drive/childbirth is so worth all of the effort you have put forth, and all of the pain you have endured. To see the smiling faces of the kids, and the smiles and tears from GG and Papa makes that 10+ hour drive all worth it. It makes listening to children's movies for nine hours worth it. It makes sharing a hotel bed with a magnetic four-year old worth it. (Okay, just to clarify that statement: When you share a bed with The Girl it's like you have a piece of metal strapped to your back and she is a magnet. Everytime you wake up, she is on your back like white on rice, no matter how many times you move her away.) It's all worth it. And the way the drive is MOST like childbirth? You forget how painful it is shortly after it's over, so that you continue to do it time after time.
The second conclusion I have come to is in regards to caffeine (or, as I like to call it, caf-fiend). I'm sure some of you know that Caf-feind is my arch nemesis. We do NOT get along. Actually, since I have semi-given it up, we are faring much better. I can have it occasionally without any bad side effects (i.e. peeing every 10 minutes, staying up until 5 o'clock in the morning). I have actually had A LOT of caffeine this last four days, what with scrapbooking and the drive down, so now I'm working on getting off of it. But caffeine's role in my drive down here is what I would like to focus on today. It is amazing to me what a super-drug caffeine can be. I was so tired driving down that I actually had to stop just outside of Olympia for a short nap. I was afraid I would fall asleep while driving, and I didn't want to take any chances. After I woke up, we got started again. A while later, I stopped somewhere (I don't remember where) and got a Cherry Coke. And I'm not kidding you, after two drinks of that soda, I was wide awake. Before I stopped, my eyes were all heavy, and I was starting to worry about falling asleep again (my body goes into sleep mode when it even THINKS about long-distance driving). It was awesome. And I did it again on Monday morning. I had gotten a fairly decent nights sleep, but as soon as I got into the car, I was tired again. So I stopped in Grants Pass and got a Pepsi. And immediately I was awake. Shoot, I didn't even have to drink it. I just looked at it and I could feel the magic elixer coursing through my veins. Okay, not quite, but you know what I mean. So, I have concluded that caffeine, whether injected, ingested, snorted, smoked, swallowed, or just drunk out of a 20 oz bottle is my new "energy drink." I don't have to spend $3.00 on a bottle of RockStar or Full Throttle to get my boost. I'll just go buy a 50 cent can of Cherry Coke and be done with it (only 50 cents outside of WalMart, of course).
My third conclusion. When I watch children's movies now, I laugh at how much I identify with the parents in the movies. I'm talking Disney cartoons here people, not after-school specials. The kids were watching Bambi II on the way down (cute movie by the way, lots of funny parts). There is a part where Bambi yells "I wish Mother were here instead of you!" to his father. And I'm not sitting there thinking "Poor Bambi. His dad isn't being very nice to him. And he misses his mom. Aaawwwhhh." I'm sitting there wondering how bad that made Bambi's dad feel. Thinking about how much that must have hurt him. This is a cartoon deer we are talking about, people!! I'm sympathizing with a cartoon. I think I'm losing it. But I find myself doing that more often. I feel bad for parents in movies and shows when their kids act out, or say mean things to them. I give advice to fictional parents when I see their stories (it's usually "You need to smack that kid" but who cares, right?). I can't quite figure out when the shift happened. I don't think it was the minute I got pregnant, or even after The Girl was born. But sometime in the last several years, I think I have truly become a parent. I guess I can stop feeling like I'm pretending now. Like I'm just babysitting these kids for someone else. I can feel like a real adult now, not like I'm still in high school. But, that is a post for another day.
Right now I should go hang out with The Boy. The Girl went with GG to get a haircut (yes, TB, she is getting her bangs cut), and The Boy is not feeling well. So, I leave you all to your lives. Enjoy them!