It’s just like us, with our consistent attention to the 7 P’s* to embark on a seven hour road trip as tornados whirled through; part of a storm front reaching the length of four states. This following a sleepless night of vomit and incessant itching on my part. I have a virulent cat allergy.
Lifestyle travel is so glamourous.
We’re in the midst of the storm before the calm. Two weeks of house to house visits with some of the dearest and best of our friends and family. At last count, that included 11 families, and then there are the folks who we’ve run into in grocery stores and at the movie premiere.
It’s wild. It’s crazy. It’s one late night after another on an endless train of special dinners, laughter and wine over card games and knitting. We’re so tired by the middle of the second week, but we love it and we wouldn’t miss even one of these precious families.
The highlights have been many:
A long afternoon at a ridiculously overpriced indoor amusement center with our fantastic godchildren. The daddies and the kids rode go-karts until I was dizzy from watching them. The mommies played ski ball until our backs hurt!
Brunch with the Baker family, some of our on line friends who are even more amazing in real life. If you’re looking for encouragement to sell your stuff, get out of debt and live the life you dream of, check these folks out!
A sweet afternoon hugging on my 90 year old Gram who never ceases to amaze me. I hope I grow into half of the woman she is. She took us to lunch, insisted on buying (we told Gabe in advance that he could NOT have the most expensive item on the menu, as he seems to gravitate to those!) and worked hard to hear the kids over the din in the restaurant. She always has an encouraging word for me as I feel my way through the dark in raising these kids. I can’t think of anyone I admire more.
A movie premiere. That’s right! One of our favorite nine year olds starred in a children’s movie and we just happened to be here to attend the red carpet opening, including a limo, crafts for the kids, free popcorn and a laundry list of old friends to hug.
Coffee in a college town and a long walk with chosen family. We stayed up WAY too late (Tony and Becca saw 3 a.m.!) laughed WAY too hard and ate some of the BEST beignets we’ve had since New Orleans last winter!
A hayride through a pumpkin farm beneath trees dressed in their flaming fall dresses with the cousins. Days when we have all six kids together are too few and far between.
It was especially sweet for me to see Hannah and Ben, who used to play that they were Romans beneath my dining room table cloth when they were two, playing guitar and violin together, and little Layla, who bypassed every other family member in favor of her big Hannah. They are growing up too fast.
In spite of incessant hacking (we’re still recovering from the colds we got celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving in NH three weeks ago) and a few long itchy nights, punctuated with prayers to the porcelain god, it’s been a beautiful trip thus far. We even managed to cruise through downtown Chicago this afternoon without dipping below 60 mph, and any of you who’ve driven that route KNOW that it takes an act of God for that to happen!
The take home message from the storm before the calm is, as it always has been in the past, that we are blessed beyond all sense to have such amazing friends and family in this life. They love us far more than we deserve and we can never hope to repay even a tithe of what they sew into our lives.
In a few short hours we’ll arrive on the doorstep of Tony’s grandmother, and bask for the last 48 hours in the country in the good food and good company of the very best of what makes us Millers.
*The 7 P’s according to Uncle Dick: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.