When my mother-in-law let us know that she really wanted her boys and their families at the Blue Family Reunion in Mississippi this summer my heart started to race and my blood pressure started to rise. It wasn't excitement. The first thing I thought about was SNAKES. There is NOTHING I fear more. In fact, I told Eric that if I have an encounter with one I don't know if I could ever forgive him. If it were bad enough, then I would put myself and my babies on the first flight out of Mississippi (he would be welcome to come too, but I wouldn't wait around for him).
The second thing I thought about was the fact that we have three children (ages 5, 3, and 2). No matter how you plan to travel, this would not be easy. But compared to possibly encountering snakes, this I could manage with enough planning ahead. (Yes, I have "control issues".)
The first decision was: Train, Plane, or Automobile? The cost of the train was astronomical, so it was eliminated as a viable option immediately. All expenses considered, both other options cost within a few hundred dollars of each other. So the decision came down to which route would be easier taking three very young children. We decided to drive primarily because Gracie (just two at the time of the trip) is in that relatively small window of time (unless you're on a plane with her and then is suddenly seems like a very large window of time) when she doesn't have enough words to always communicate what she needs and can end up screaming when frustrated. I couldn't subject a plane full of strangers to what I knew could happen 20,000 feet in the air.
I know my mother-in-law doesn't completely know what she is asking. It's been a long time since she had kids and the two she had were four years apart. But it was very important to her that this happen this year because her eldest grandchild (Evan) will be a Senior next year and she fears it might be the last opportunity for everyone to be there at once. I love her dearly, so whether or not I would ordinarily think it was a good idea, I am willing to do the preparation necessary for forty-something hours EACH WAY in a Chrysler Town and Country Mini Van with three preschoolers. (To be fair, there are tons of family that the kids and I have never met. Don't misinterpret my fear for anything but fear. I am very excited to meet all of Dad's family. Once there I know it will be tons of fun, as long as neither me nor the kids sees any snakes because I'm not exactly sure what I would do and am pretty sure that I would be ashamed and embarrassed by my behavior while simultaneously be unable to control it.)
I know I am preparing us all for the ride of our life. I'm inviting you to join us for the journey. As a fly on the ceiling of the mini-van you'll get to enjoy all the humor of the trip and still be able to get up and go to the bathroom whenever you want to. More importantly in my mind, I can personally guarantee that you will not see any snakes!