Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Round Five: Homeward Bound

We left my mom and stepdad's Tuesday night, after dinner. And when I say night, I mean night. My mom and her husband are night owls. They stay up til all hours, and don't eat dinner until late. I felt like the elite, eating chicken parmesan and french onion soup at 10 o clock. Well... the elite from 200 years ago. The elite these days are probably all health nuts and won't eat after 7pm. But then, they've never had my stepdad's french onion soup, either. However, I will say that eating french onion soup at 10:30 at night, then hopping in the car to drive 12 hours back home... Well. Let's just say it wasn't the wisest decision we've ever made.

Leaving my mom was hard. I didn't expect it to be easy. When we arrived at her new house in Florida, it didn't feel any different than her old house in Virginia. There was this surreal quality to the visit... I kept forgetting how far I really was from home. Even Chloe asked me, "I thought Nana moved to Florida?" So to fall into that sense of normalcy, only to leave it again, and realize all over again that my mom really was GONE- it was a wrench. Chloe cried for the first 10 minutes of the drive, with Ashton making comments all the while, things like, "I can't believe you're crying!" When Chloe finally stopped, Ashton started up. And sobbed for 20 miles. To the point of hysteria. I couldn't even really give him a well placed "I told you so". My heart was too broken for him.

Jeremy drove for the first 5 hours of our trip, while I dozed on and off. Before we left Mom's, she gave us a stack of CDs that belonged to one of my brothers, asking us to give them back to him. At the bottom of the stack was a Beach Boys greatest hits CD. To see Jeremy's reaction, you would have thought Christmas came early (more on that later). In and out of my fitful dreams were snippets of "Surfer Girl" and "Good Vibrations", and Jeremy humming and bee bopping along. I kept hearing him say, "This is some good stuff right here!"

We stopped right inside South Carolina to gas up and stretch our legs. The gas station attendant gave us the evil eye when we walked in. You'd think being at a 24 hour gas station right off of I-95, she'd be used to seeing tired, disheveled families in their pajamas march in, using the restrooms, drooling over the fireworks, telling the kids that no, we can't play the claw machine.... but apparently, she wasn't.

Also, side note to my dad and brothers: Can one of you tell me the odds of seeing an old 15 passenger Royal Ranger van parked outside a gas station in South Carolina at 4 in the morning? I was kind of blown away. Strange.

And when we got back in the car- it was my turn to drive.

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