Saturday, November 17, 2007

Going Home

Two suburbans rumble toward New York. One shivers its way down out of the Cascade Mountains. My sister is at the wheel. Four kids play “Cows in the Cemetary” and “Scavenger Hunt” in the back seat. The fifth rides shotgun with an atlas and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in her lap. They sing along to Willie Nelson and Taj Mahal as they drive among the western pines and out into the fields of brown grass under the wide open prarie sky.
My sister tossed a few changes of clothes, a cooler and some dishes behind the back seat. The kids grabbed a handful of books and toys to keep themselves on their forty hour trip eastward. They press across the country. Each night, for three nights, after the sun sets, nine-year-old Maddie thumbs through the Hitchhiker’s Guide in search of somewhere to lay six sleepy heads.

The second suburban is ours. We head north from Smallville through nearly empty countryside in an autumn just past it’s prime. Gold and red leaves, bare branches and evergreens brush against the blue, blue heavens. Our vehicle is not big enough for all the claptrap we might need so we haul along a trailer full of boots and winter coats. Five bikes are chained to the trailer in the event that our soft southern children want to brave the frosty New York air and peddle around in the grandparents’ driveways. The albuterol, heating pad and nebulizer are packed "just in case." The kids put together a laundry basket of library books and filled another with toys and the cross stitch samplers they are working on. The Lost Years of Merlin and The Prarie Home Companion take turns in the CD player. I read the directions Stuart printed out from Google Maps. We pull into the hotel in Cincinnati where we have had reservations for a week.

We’re so different, my sister and I, but best friends anyway. Tomorrow, in Cleveland, our children will greet each other as if only a day or two have passed since the last time they rode bikes and played Barbies together. In reality, it’s been two years. We’ll caravan to New York, the children all mixed up together between our two vehicles.

And then the brothers will come, all seven of them, from near and far and farther, with wives and girlfriends and children. We will delight in meeting the newest additions to the family. We siblings will laugh at the memories of who we were when we all lived together under one roof and we will share bits of the people that we have become and the lives that we live now amidst the chaos that comes when a family of eleven burgeons into a family of forty-one.

I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving with your families.

(I'll post a few pictures of the crew sometime next week when I have a few minutes.)

15 comments:

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

I hope you have a wonderful trip. Sounds chaotic & fun all at the same time. Hurry back soon...I've missed your regular posting (selfish, I know...)

Alana said...

Great post. I love how you worded this...

"We siblings will laugh at the memories of who we were when we all lived together under one roof and we will share bits of the people that we have become and the lives that we live now..."

So true.

Enjoy your time away! Happy Thanksgiving!

Janelle said...

This sounds delightful! This really represents the magic of the holidays.

Have fun!

Jennifer@DoingTheNextThing said...

Oh, that brought tears to my eyes! What a joyful reunion you will have! I can't wait to see pictures. We'll have our own reunion, though only 5 hrs away and with folks we saw over the summer. Still, the cousins adore each other and it seems longer than that. Happy Thanksgiving!

Etta said...

Wow. What a crew. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Be safe!

lori said...

WOW!!! THAT IS JUST THE COOLEST THING!!!! 11 of ya'll!!
HAVE a fabulous time!!

HOW INCREDIBLY FUN and loud!:):)

ValleyGirl said...

Sounds like a wonderful time -- hope you had a great weekend and a very happy Thanksgiving!

Xandra said...

I totally relate to you here. I would pack the kitchen sink if Trevor would let me. I'm the queen of "what if?" LOL!

When you get back from your wonderful visit, head over to my blog and check out the details of the meme for which I just tagged you.

Faith @ The Great Adventure said...

This sounds like so much fun! Wow, I am trying to imagine growing up with 7 brothers ... sounds scary to me! ;) Where were you in the birth order?

Alyson said...

oh how fun. I don't have a big family and want that so badly. I can't believe the thought of all of you being together like that just brought a tear to my eye. I guess there are somethings I have not been blessed with yet and that my heart longs for.
perhaps someday that will be us...with the seven kids that is :)

Anonymous said...

Kate,
We had so much fun with our southern cousins and our western cousins. It will be out turn to pack our mini-van with all things necessary and take the trip down south.
We had such a great time visiting. Family is such a wonderful thing and I'm so happy to have married into this one!

Cheryl said...

What a beautiful picture of family life! I love the comparison between you and your sister. This brought tears to my eyes as well. Another beautifully crafted writing! (I love Prairie Home Companion! Did you know you can download free podcasts from iTunes?)

Mary@notbefore7 said...

So wonderfully written! I loved the comparison. Sounds like you all are going to have a great time.

I left you an award on my blog, though I recall you receiving it previously....no need to mention it again here, but wanted you to know.

Have a great time! "See" you when you return.

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Cannot wait to see the pics! I bet that was such a fun time.
Much love,
Ang

keatingdeirdre said...

Just found your site, and read your 100th post. Have to thank you. "No child of mine..." that part, of realizing that no, this is God's child, and so much more, touched my heart.

You are so right---that only by sharing our broken pieces can we truly serve each other. Thank you so much for sharing your story.