Zuzu at the beach just moments before we left town. She thought it was dirty. That face sums it all up.
1. After a hurried journey out of town decide to take a leisurely morning before heading back home. This is best accomplished by eating a big breakfast at a crowded diner while acting shocked that the two and three year olds that haven't slept for three days are misbehaving. Order extra bacon while restraining the flailing arms of the three year old, because her moods don't own your life.
2. Don't even think about embarking on your ten hour long drive until sometime after noon.
3. Caravan with two other cars. Make sure your car only contains you, your three year old, your sister and her one year old. It is helpful if at least half of the car is spitting angry by now. This is easily accomplished if you force the two kids to miss their naps because you needed an extra side of bacon (See step one).
4. Take six hours to drive to the spot you should have reached in four. This is easily accomplished by giving the children more drinks than they want because you are worried they are dehydrated. Take time to enjoy the two hours spent in various rest stops. There is nothing so quick to remind you of the delicate nature of mortality as a public restroom floor littered with needles.
5. Pretend you can't hear the crying and moaning from the back seat. Tell your sister it is basically white noise. Comment on how great it is that you can transcend the racket and not overreact.
6. Five minutes later turn around and threaten to take away Christmas from the next kid that cries. Decide you really might follow through when that next kid is yours.
7. Stop and get Chinese food at a western ranch themed casino in Las Vegas. Because...why the hell not?
8. Spend the remainder of the drive doubled over with intense abdominal pain.
9. Say at least ten times, "I wonder if it was the Chinese food?"
10. Laugh with your sister through a star lit canyon. Look back at the sleeping children. Smile. Think, yes, this is why I love road trips.
11. Eat a handful of cookies because you are really feeling better.
12. Spend the last hour and a half of the drive with your cheek pressed up against the cold window because your stomach is in revolt yet again. Wonder if it might have been the cookies.
13. Get home five hours later than originally planned. Drop your daughter on her bum while you try to get her into pajamas. Start crying when she starts crying. Promise tomorrow will be better when you put her to bed.
14. In the quiet house breathe deeply and decide what you really need is a hot shower.
15. Close your eyes as the scalding water runs over you and marvel at how a little thing can make big things better.
16. Open your eyes and see a spider hanging right in front of your face.
17. Scream and jump out of the shower. Laugh at yourself. It is only a spider, after all. Decide to pretend that the spider is out to get your family as a way to get your courage up. Summon the power of a protective mother. Get back into the shower determined to kill it. Scream and jump back out again.
18. Stand naked and dripping wet in the middle of the bathroom. It is obvious that your only recourse is to throw things at the damn bug. Start with the hair gel and end with the electric toothbrush charger.
19. Feel a surge of accomplishment as you scoop up the sad remains of the once dominant demon spider. Know there is nothing in the this world that can stop you now.
20. Go to bed the conqueror of big road trips and little fears.