God's Child, Our Joy

An adoptive family's journey in faith and life


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When it comes to living away from home, I think that four hours would be just about perfect for me. We had that when we lived in Omaha. Close enough to make it a weekend trip, but far enough that you’re not doing it too often. Right now we live nine and a half hours away. We’ve made the trip multiple times, but now we have a new member making the trip…..and she hates her car seat.

It’s Easter, and we are making the trip back. There are two options. 1. Travel normally and possibly (most definately) incure the Wrath of Eva, or 2. Travel throughout the night and attempt to defeat the sinking eyelids. With Quinton in tow as well, we opt for Option 2 and hope they both sleep through the drive.

Wednesday and Thursday we gather up what we need for the trip. Kennel, dog bed and travel bag for Quinton. A single suitcase of clothes with our Easter wear in a hanger bag, and one other bag for our reading materials for us. The rest is for Diva Eva. A suitcase, mind you the same size as the one Steph and I SHARE, will have all her outfits. Her playmat, her toys, her Bumbo, her diaper bag, her second diaper bag, the bottle sterlizer, the bag of diapers, and of course her car seat. We are not just visiting the grandparents, but temporaily moving there.

Steph plays for Holy Thursday, so we plan to leave when she returns. Church starts at 7:00, so she’ll be home around 8:15, and we can be gone by 8:30. Steph will drive the first part, and I’ll take over when she tires. The kids will sleep, and Grandparents will watch them when we arrive and nap. Best laid plans, right?

Church goes til just past 9:00, so we start off an hour behind. We get on the road and hit I-70. I start to relax. I need to nap now to keep fresh for my part of the drive. Not ten minutes go by before traffic comes to a halt. Accident on I-70, semi overturned. After a twenty minute delay, we’re back on the road.

Why yes, that’s Quinton in the front seat checking out the accident. I’m in the back with Eva. Unfortunately I forgot to call shotgun as we left, so he got the front seat with the leg room.

I drift asleep. An hour goes by and I’m woken up. Steph no longer can stay awake. In retrospect, a day of work, child care, packing, and an evening of playing viola may not have been the best way to stay rested for the trip.

My drive start with Indianapolis. Easiest part of the trip. Plenty of things to look at and little traffic. Once out of town, it’s about an hour to the border. I’m still mostly awake, so it’s not so bad. I pass a van on the road that had just come from Cincinnati. Their van was adorned with the statement “Two Girls, Two Days, Two Cities, Two Opening Days”, and logos of the Reds and the Brewers. Glad to see we’re not the only late night drivers tonight.

There are four states in our travel itenerary. Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. One state is clearly the worst to drive through, and it’s Illinois. I’m sure Illinois is a pleasant enough state, but not on this trip. See, Ohio is the shortest part of our trip, Indiana is direct with a big shiny Indianapolis in the middle for entertainment, and Iowa is the homestretch. Illinois is stuck in the middle in the trip, and mostly boring. The route we take goes diagonal through Illinois making it the longest part of the trip. Driving through it at 3:30 is horrible.

Just picture yourself on the road. There is a hum from the road as you travel over it. The horizon and everywhere you look is dark and offers no change. The stripes on the road come past you in a consistent, monotoneus pattern. You start counting the rumble strips on the side of the road. One, two, three……………….whoops, fell asleep imagining it again.

We must have stopped at five rest stops on the way. To unload, stretch, and even nap a little. I am sustained by Dew and Duds (Mountain and Milk). I’m sure I looked terrible at 3 am, as I got a coffee at the gas station, and the attendent told me it was on the house (and please don’t eat my brain zombie!) Eventually we make it to Iowa, and I make it to Coralville for a McBreakfast and a much needed driver change.

We arrive in Cedar Falls at 7:00 am. The morning sun is out, and my body is confused. Tired, but morning sun means get up. We unload the car and meet the grandparents at the door. They are excited to see us alive, and offer to watch Eva while we nap. Or, put through the grandparent translator, “While you sleep, we shall spoil her!” Our bodies are too confused to sleep yet.

 Or maybe not.

The rest of Friday consists of visits with both sets of grandparents and the occasional nap. We are still zombies. Luckily, while still happy to see us, our parents now see us a granddaughter delivery systems, and we’ve succeeded in our primary mission.

With both sets of grandparents in the same town, it makes it easy to see both of them, and everything else more difficult. Whom to stay with, which days we visit with them, etc. For Easter, Saturday with Steph’s family, and Sunday with mine.

Before getting over to Steph’s we have the first of many “Meet Eva” moments. We stop by my mom’s work place to introduce her to everyone. Kid, it’s only just begun.

That afternoon, Eva shows off her newest skill, the crunch. She’s trying so hard to sit up, but ends up looking like one of those exercise videos where they are doing crunches to strengthen their core.

Now, everybody knows the role of grandparents, right? To spoil the child, and return them back. Well, Eva is too young for sugar injections, so at Grandma and Grandpas she is spoiled on Price is Right and baseball on TV. “The colors! The movement! Mom and Dad, why have you kept this away from me. It’s awesome!” She even got to watch the Cubs lose a game, so she’s learning early about them Cubbies.

Easter mass is at 8:00 pm that night, right when she should be sleeping. So I stay home with her, but as a comprimise we visit church beforehand to meet the choir. “Meet Eva” #2. Both grandmas have successfully executed the same move at the “Meet Evas”, a move I call “Cutting out the middle man”, aka Mom and Dad. Once arriving at the location, they take Eva and walk around to show her around. Mom and Dad are just the granddaughter delivery systems.

Sunday morning is church with my family. “Meet Eva” #3 is everyone at church. Eva does well during the service, with only one peep during the sermon. Eva piped up during the law, and Pastor afterward commented, “I heard her protest, and was saying hold on, the gospel is coming!”

After service we head back to Steph’s family for Easter pictures. Pictures of Eva in the chair, with her proud parents, the adoring grandparents, and the scary clown.

Even when I’m blurry, look who’s not in background.  Ahh!

We make it back to my family for lunch, and “Meet Eva” #4, my extended family. Some of my extended family from Minnesota and Wisconsin came down to meet Eva. They came bearing gifts, which reminds me that not only can you spoil a granddaughter with Price is Right and Baseball, but also with Easter Baskets.

Dad, check out my loot!

Monday morning I stay home to nap a little for the trip soon to come. Steph meets Grandma for “Meet Eva” #5 at her work, and “Meet Eva” #6 at the salon. Eva is going to have a complex by the end of the trip. “Everyone wants to meet me, and everyone loves me. I must be a star!” Well, I can’t dispute that.

We repack the car, and say our goodbyes. We leave around seven, and this time Quinton is exhausted, and sleeps almost the entire way. Eva takes about 40 minutes, but eventually succombs to the road and dozes off. Back on the road again.

Steph makes it nearly to Peoria before trading off with me. It’s around 11, and just as it was coming here, it’s us and the semis on the road. I had a surreal moment, when I reached the end of Illinois at 2 am, and crossed into Indiana at 3 am. It took an hour to cross that imaginary line, and it felt like nothing. (For those unaware, the timeline between EST and CST is the Illinois/Indiana border)

If you ever plan on doing this in the future, 3:30 is the worst time to drive. Both times I thought it was the absolute worst. However, Indianapolis at 4 am is a breeze.

We arrived home at 5:40ish, unloaded the car and crashed. We had made it. So ends this story. Well, not really. Tuesday still had to come. Eva had slept the entire way again (other than to change diapers and eat once). So 8:00 rolls around and she’s ready for the day. Only now it’s just us. Crap, we have to get up!

We take turns in the morning with naps, but I avoid them the rest of the day. I want to sleep at night. So, we’re zombish again. Quinton is passed out in his bed, but Eva is wide awake and wondering where her adoring masses were. More specifically, where are my grandmas?

Why am I not being held adoringly?

Why am I not being taught about phalanges?

“Why am I not being spoiled appropriately? I miss my grandmas.” We look at each other, exhausted and faced with the ominous task of figuring out dinner, and think the same thing. We miss the grandmas.


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