All I have is a picture. But I can't very well just post the picture without some sort of explanation. It's a very sad picture. I'll do my best to tell you why...
Our annual journey to join my mom's family for their Christmas celebration was yesterday. This is no small feat. Five children. Ages 2 to 15. Two carseats. One Chevy Suburban--neither ancient nor new. Typically at least a three hour drive that takes us through rural southern Virginia, North Carolina and the Great Dismal Swamp. A day filled with relatives we only see once a year--a family in desperate need of a flow chart. My mom is the second oldest of eight children. All but two of her siblings were there this year. And each sibling comes with their own offspring and their offspring's offspring.
Yesterday's trip down was actually relatively painless. And short. And non-stop. For the first time in several years, I wasn't pregnant...nor were we traveling with a potty-training toddler. One of the nephews had traveled down the day before with my parents so there were only four kiddos--two to each row. Kyleigh and Maia napped in the middle row while Jacob and Sammy kept each other entertained discussing poop and it's various forms...or, rather--Jacob kept himself entertained while Sammy attempted to snooze. Either way, they were all the way in the back and my sister and I enjoyed each other's company.
Fast forward through turkey, ham and collard greens. Family drama and countless family photo opts. Scores of short ones under the age of 5 wearing each other out. Avoiding various uncles wishing to discuss various political issues. Thank the good lord no one actually brought up healthcare...at least not within my hearing range--oh, look...is that my son climbing up that very unstable stack of chairs?...Gotta go. Rounding up everyone that belonged to us, buckled back into carseats amidst blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, various mp3 players, books, water bottles and bags of snacks...my sister and I making sure our travel mugs are accessible for our now traditional post-party-prior-to-getting-back-on-the-road-stop-at-the-one-place-that-sells-good-coffee coffee stop...
and they were boarded up-someone-please-rent-me-hand-painted-sign-stuck-in-the-window Closed. And we were going to get muffins too.
Rural North Carolina. Just south of the Great Dismal Swamp. Starbucks is unaware that people actually live there. It was another hour down the road before we found some place other than a gas station that might have palatable coffee. I don't think my reaction of "Really?! That would be fantastic!" was quite the response the kind and patient lady at the Dairy Queen drive-through was expecting when she informed us she'd have to brew a fresh pot.
Bless you, dear lady. We'll see you next year.