Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Heading home....

Tim and I have lived in Florida for over 12 years now but we are actually from the Midwest. Tim was born and raised in St. Louis, MO and I lived there for most of my teenage years and into adulthood. We consider St. Louis to be our home town. We still have family there and countless memories of growing up and our early years together. When we first moved away we went back to visit all the time. As life has gotten busier and our family has gotten bigger the time between our visits has stretched to every few years instead of every few months. In fact, somehow time has flown by so quickly that over four years have past since we have been back “home”.
It is high time for a visit, and so, we are getting ready to pack up our suitcase and our, now, five children and head back home for a week. I am excited to go back to see all our favorite places again and to visit our family and friends who are still there but I am also a little apprehensive about the trip. We are driving back because flying is out of the question, financially speaking. We will, all seven of us, be squeezing into our 7 passenger minivan for a ride that will likely take upwards of 18 hours. In order to further keep the costs down, we will be making the ride all in one trip rather than breaking it up into two days and staying in a hotel along the way. We have found, in the past, that driving over night is the easiest way to do it. We will leave our house in the late afternoon and drive, straight through, arriving sometime mid morning the next day. Tim and I will trade off driving duties through the night, trying to sleep when it is not our turn. Last time we did this, we only had four children and they were all considerably smaller. This time there will be not an inch to spare and the children will have to somehow make themselves comfortable while still buckled and squashed like sardines in the back. I anticipate I will not feel quite so alone as I take my middle of the night shift this time around, as I am sure someone else will be awake and complaining that they cannot get comfortable enough to even doze off for a minute or two. It promises to be a really long night.
In addition to the tight quarters while traveling, I am slightly stressed about the space in our suitcase. I will be responsible for packing enough clothing for seven people for a week making sure everyone has weather appropriate outfits, pajamas, personal care items, and, of course, those oh so special things they cannot sleep without. And speaking of weather appropriate clothing, if you have ever been to the Midwest you probably already know, but the weather there is very unpredictable to say the least. Last time we visited temperatures were in the 70’s when we arrived and by the time we left, a few days later, it was snowing. I feel, to be truly prepared, I should take along the entire contents of each of our closets. As that is clearly not a realistic option, I will attempt to pack layers for everyone, short sleeved shirts, long pants, and sweaters or jackets to pull on or take off according to the weather of the minute. This will still require a gargantuan suitcase, which thankfully we do have. It will also require me to spend hours upon hours doing laundry in order to have what we need clean before we leave and then, of course, after returning there will be hours and hours of laundry to get caught up again.
So... why are we making this trip anyway? Believe it or not, that is an easy question to answer. It is simply because I am sure the memories we make will be well worth all the trouble we will face getting there(and back home again), after all, there is no place like home.


  1. Yeah for heading "home"!

    I am a fellow St. Louisan...transplanted to Kansas City. Although not nearly as far away as Florida, I do understand what you mean about the trips getting fewer and farther between.

    When it was just my little daughter and I (Daddy's a fire fighter) I seemed to go home all the time. Then Benjamin came along...and we still visit "frequently" (i.e. every 2 months or so or parents/siblings come to KC) this year the trips have become even less frequent b/c of Mary's PreK class.

    Next year, as kindergartner and with a new baby, I see our trips even numbering less. :(

    So how do you like it now officially home? I can't say that I've ever warmed up to living in KC...oh, it's a lovely city and all...just a little too close to STL for me to "let go" of my roots! I guess it doesn't help that all of my family still lives there. My husband is set to retire from the fire dept in about 7 years (although b/c we have littles he will have to find a 2nd career!) and he reallllly wants to move to Florida.

    Well, enough rambling from me...wishing you well with the loads of laundry and giant packing project you have ahead of you! And you're right...last Saturday it was sleeting during Mary Catherine's soccer game and today...a mere 4 days later it was 81!

    BTW...I attended Ursuline Academy. :)

  2. Valerie- It is so nice to hear from a fellow St. Louisan! Though I do miss my home town- St. Louis is such a wonderful, family-friendly, Catholic city- I would never even dream of leaving Florida. Having welcomed each of our 5 children into the world here, this has become a home to us too. We are also incredibly blessed to have an amazing group of friends here who have supported us through many, many life changes over the last 12 years. I will pray that you will find the same in KC, and that God will bless your growing family. And maybe someday we will be neighbors in the Sunshine State. And, in answer to the essential StL question... I went to Eureka High School.



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