We missed you so much while we were away. You know, my mom always took us down to visit my grandparents and on various adventures here and there. My dad rarely came along and, to be honest, we didn't miss him all that much. You, we missed. Going out and seeing and doing is just not as much fun without you there. I'm grateful that you had the opportunity to rest and recuperate while we were gone but I think that, from now on, we'll be taking you with us as much as possible. After all, Christopher just doesn't know what to do when he doesn't have his "Two Buddies" fully in tact to refer to.
Dear Drive Through Starbucks in Travis, CA:
I've always wondered how one would order a pastry at the drive-thru window in Starbucks, considering one cannot view the pastry case and see what is out of stock. Now I know. One cannot. If I had wanted a super-fat-free cinnamon bread that would crumble all over my lap while getting lost in your town, I would have ordered that the first time. No. What I wanted was...well, I can't remember now...but the point remains. Attempting to order something aside from coffee for your growling new baby (aka tummy) is a waste of time and an exercise in frustration. Lesson learned.
To the Towns of Travis and Fairfield, CA:
If I wanted to drive through historic fairfield along "historic route 40" on my way back to the highway, I would have looked for signs indicating as much. On the contrary, my small town friends, what I WANTED was to get back on the freeway as quickly and easily as I got off of it. When travelling with very small children, getting from point A (the drive-thru starbucks) to point B (I-80 East) as quickly as possible really is the goal. Why yes, I do have an in-car navigation system that assured me I was headed in the right direction. And, yes, my children were quite busy watching Cars while I putt-putted my way down your abandoned streets waiting and waiting and WAITING to see any sign of the freeway. But the fact remains - a thirty minute detour at the BEGINNING of a four-plus hour drive is NOT what the doctor ordered.
Thank you for making the following movies: Cars, Madagascar, and Wall-E. They saved my life. My only suggestion: in the future, would it KILL YOU to make your animated features last even a LITTLE longer than 90 minutes? Do you know how many times an almost-three-year-old Boss of Everyone will make you listen to Wall-E during your 6.5 hour drive home through Sunday traffic? You do the math. My brain is still too full of Wall-E's voice saying, "Eeevv-a."
I would not recommend watching (well, listening to) Cars while freeway driving. The constant barrage of horns and sirens and zooms and crashes? DISTRACTING. I thought I was being pulled over for the whole first half of the ride.
To my lovely children,
Stopping at McDonald's with you was a delight. I love seeing how big you're getting, how well you eat, how excited you get over happy meals and the toys hidden in their greasy depths. Our mid-drive lunches left me rejuvenated and proud.
To the McDonald's at the Forrest Hill exit in Auburn, CA:
I have been visiting your establishment since the earliest days of my youth. It was the traditional stopping point when my own family would drive from Tahoe to San Francisco to visit my grandparents, and has already fulfilled the same role in our travels on the reverse route to visit my childrens' grandparents. I heart you. My only request: please install a changing table in the Family Restroom. This would ensure that moms everywhere would not have to change diapers in the backs of their cars with one hand while using the other to cover up the button that activates the automatic lift gate so that the baby cannot push said button and crush the mommy and preschooler in the process. Thank you.
To my Mom and Dad:
We had a lovely time visiting you. Thank you for the adventures, for taking the boys to see giant fish tanks and copious amounts of dead animals and pretend presidents. Christopher especially loved the overly-bubbly soak in your giant tub and was delighted by the jets in particular. Thank you for the bike riding, the pool swimming, and the delicious breakfast out. We miss you already and can't wait to come back.
To my childhood BFF who had to cancel our dinner at Mimi's where I was really looking forward to my free muffin because, as it turned out, you were made quite ill by your own little "bun in the oven":
HOORAY!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!! What a lovely reason to have to miss seeing you. We will be praying for you as your journey through this pregnancy. Know that it does get better. That the sickness DOES go away. That the initial apprehension fades away to be replaced by joy in no time. You will be a great mama.
To Tommy, Christopher's new BFF:
Thank you for spending all of Saturday entertaining my little one. It was so wonderful to be able to visit with your mommy without having to worry about keeping Christopher entertained. Ever since we left your house on Saturday, he has been asking if we can come back. Six and a half hours in the car on Sunday makes for a lot of "Me go Tommy home? Pea!? Pea!?" At least he's polite. We can't wait to see you again, buddy. And your mom, dad, and big brother too.
Dear Hot August Night's Participants:
Your old car fest, which I have enjoyed participating in many times in years past, was not over until Sunday afternoon. Why, then, did you all find it necessary to drive home on Sunday morning? Do you know what you did to me by forcing me to drive along side of you for 2.5 hours longer than necessary? At 30 mph on the FREEWAY!? I'm sorry, but we cannot be friends.
To the lovely gentleman who honked at me on the freeway and then gestured wildly for me to "move over" as you passed by:
Were you not aware of the fact that we were driving up to the summit on a road that only had two lanes? Or maybe you missed the fact that I was, indeed, in the SLOW lane behind a TRUCK. Where exactly did you expect for me to go? And why were you yelling at me? And don't you have better things to do than to anger an exhausted pregnant chauffer of two babies already on their second viewing of Wall-E? I prayed for your soul after you passed me by...but only after i called you a jerk.
And finally, to the man in McDonald's who snuck into the family bathroom ahead of my hot, sweaty, tired, pregnant self and my equally hot, sweaty and tired children:
Initially I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt, figuring that perhaps you didn't know that there was also a fully-equipped men's room just a few steps further down the hall. Okay, I didn't try for very long, but I did wait patiently for you to emerge so that I could go in and use the facilities while my baby sat on my lap, my backpack hung over my shoulders, and my toddler turned the light on and off. I admit to being pleasantly surprised upon entering to discover that you had not left any pleasant aromas in your wake, and I apologized to you inside my head for being so critical. UNTIL. UNTIL! Until I approached the toilet to see that the water therein was yellow. AND THERE WERE ALSO YELLOW SPECKLES ALL OVER THE TOILET SEAT. You are lucky, my friend. LUCKY that I didn't follow you over to your seat and let you know EXACTLY what I thought of the fact that you were clearly raised in a barn. A LOW CLASS BARN. I forgot to pray for your soul. I'm still seething. And my poor little Christopher has learned that grown men DO NOT BEHAVE THAT WAY BECAUSE THAT IS DISGUSTING AND IMPROPER AND HE IS A PIG AND DON'T YOU EVER DO THAT OR YOU'LL BE SITTING ON THE STAIR FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE DO YOU UNDERSTAND? Poor little guy. No wonder he comes up to me sometimes, out of the blue, saying, "Mommy? You mad me?"
Annie & the boys