Post by Sarah. Title by Jason.
We just got back from our yearly vacation to visit family in the small beach town of Breezy Point, NY. Jason and I have gone every summer for over a decade, and we always looked forward to the trip as a happy oasis in the middle of the year. We relax, laugh with family, explore a bit in NYC, and of course eat lots of good New York food (For as much as I love Pittsbugh, we just can't make pizza and bagels like they do in NY!). We knew this year would be different because we were taking our almost 9-month old boys, but we were not expecting it to be end up being compared to National Lampoon's Vacation.
We decided to drive over night hoping that our little dudes would sleep most of the way. Our travels went relatively well except they left us very tired when we arrived in Breezy. Jason had done most of the driving and felt like he was getting a cold, so he took a nap while I played with the boys. One of the boys needed a diaper change so I picked him up and while walking somehow smashed my little toe into an ottoman. I have no idea what happened! I didn't trip. I didn't fall. I didn't even curse! But while I was changing the diaper I realized that my toe hurt. A lot. And as time passed it kept hurting. A lot. I took an ibuprofen and kept playing. A while later Aunt/Nurse Dee came in the room and I asked her to look at my toe, which was now swollen and several shades of purple. Verdict: fractured. Doctors don't do much for broken toes, so Dee taped it for me and I hobbled along for the rest of the week.
By Monday Jason had a full blown cold. Then Joshua got it. Then Julian and I did. Then an aunt and uncle got it. A family that sneezes/wheezes/coughs together stays together? Thankfully that must be true because our dear family didn't kick us to the curb after we took over their house with our germs and screaming babies.
Yes our our sweet babies did a lot of screaming and crying. They were so tired but could not (would not?) go to sleep. They were sick, and in a new place, and their travel cribs can't be as comfortable as their real cribs, oh and poor Julian also started cutting a new tooth, so he had that pain to deal with too. And when they don't sleep well, we don't sleep well either.
So we finally decided to go home a day early. Once again we traveled overnight. Somewhere while we were driving on a highway in New Jersey Joshua woke up and pooped. And then screamed. And screamed. And screamed. I mean, can you blame him? The problem was that even once we got off at an exit that had signs from or gas stations and fast food restaurants, nothing was open. It was 10pm on Saturday night, which isn't early, but how could everything be closed?! Eventually we found a tiny gas station that was open, but the line for the bathroom was long, so I changed the poor baby in the parking lot while Jason watched Julian and tried to ignore the chain smoking pregnant woman standing nearby. We got out of there as fast as we could and kept driving towards home. Then on the PA turnpike, Joshua woke up and pooped again. Just after we had passed a rest stop. So he screamed. And screamed. And screamed. Twenty miles later we took both boys into a rest stop and changed their diapers. Those places are empty at 3 in the morning! Empty but for a smiling man leaving with a big cup of coffee who told me he had sleeping 4 year old twins in the car and that we were going to make it.
Finally we got home. And we are healing.
It was easy for me to be grumpy during our trip, but I was trying very hard not to be by looking for as much good as I could. I broke my toe...but during the summer so I can wear sandals while it heals. We all got sick...but not the more serious illnesses we had over the winter. We had a rough drive home...but a kind stranger shared words of encouragement. Our vacation was not what we expected it to be...but we got to feel the ocean air on our faces and spend time with family we don't get to see nearly enough. And we ate bagels. And pizza. And got to see these smiles.