It’s Saturday, December 20th and I’m currently packing my vehicle up with our luggage. We are getting ready to drive from Waco to Weslaco for Christmas with our chocolate lab, Daisy, wagging her tail in the back seat. Olivia and Archer were already strapped into their seats and waiting to start our trip.
The weather outside is nice today. It’s not very cold and the sun is out. Driving conditions should be good even though I anticipate traffic because it’s the start of a major holiday.
Olivia had her large pink wheeled suitcase packed full of her clothes. Her backpack had her phone, charger, headphones and a few activities pack away inside. Archer’s blue wheeled suitcase was heavy because he filled it with clothes and things for him and Reese to do later today. He and Reese were good together. Two peas in a pod they were.
I loaded my wheeled suitcase and my gym bag in the vehicle. The last things I packed in the back were all the Christmas presents I had gotten for the kids. They would stay at Caleb’s house under the tree while we were traveling. The kids would get to open everything when we got back to Texas.
I grumbled internally as I climbed into the driver's seat of my vehicle over the seven hour drive I was about to make. It is always a challenge with the kids, but hopefully today things will go just fine. Several pit stops would happen because Olivia has to pee every couple of hours. This was going to be a long day of traveling, but thank God we are starting our trip at eight this morning after we had breakfast.
As we drove down the road listening to my music, I looked in my rear view mirror to see Olivia passed out and Archer playing on his phone with headphones on. Daisy was laying down sleeping along with Olivia. The vehicle was quiet and boring.
As I drove in silence I thought about the plan for our holiday adventure. We would be flying up North tomorrow to go see Caleb’s parents. His brothers and their families would be there as well. I’m nervous and yet excited about this trip. I’m excited to see Sabrina and Brandon and meet their new baby girl, but I’m nervous to meet everyone else. I was happy that I would get to spend another Christmas together with Caleb with the kids tagging along this time.
A little over an hour into the drive I got a text from Caleb. I took my phone off its dock to check it and respond to him.
“About what time will you be here, little one?”
“Probably around four as usual.”
“Ok. Reese and Ava are at Hannah and Peter’s house while I’m at work today.”
“Alright. I’ll pick them up once I unload my vehicle at the house.”
“Thank you, little one.”
“You’re welcome, babe.”
With that I put my phone back on it’s dock and continue the drive. Olivia woke up while we were driving through San Antonio, so I stopped at Chick-fil-A for lunch. We got out of the vehicle to potty and stretch our legs some. After we got our food, we walked back to the vehicle and climbed in.
“Let’s find a rest stop to have a picnic before we get back on the road,” I told the kids.
“That’s a great idea,” Olivia said happily.
Archer smiled and nodded his head. I knew poor Daisy was ready to get out and run around. We finished driving through San Antonio and found a quiet rest stop a few miles outside the city. We all got out and settled at a picnic table to eat, letting Daisy potty and run around close by. I got her water bowl out and gave her some water to drink.
“Mommy, are you excited about the trip to Minnesota?” Olivia asks.
“Yes, and I’m also nervous about it,” I answered her.
“Why?” Archer asks.
“I want Caleb’s family to like me, so it makes me nervous that they might not.”
“Everyone loves you mom, so don’t worry,” he tells me.
“When did you get so grown up?” I ask.
“I don’t know,” he answers with a shrug and a small smile.
“Well stop it. You need to stay my baby,” I tease him.
He just giggles and shakes his head as we finish eating our lunch. We use the bathrooms at the rest stop one more time before we all get back in the vehicle to finish our drive to Caleb’s house. The kids were quiet as we drove down the highway, either consumed in games on their phones or taking naps. I could go for a nap right now, but then who would drive?
It was another hour before I heard my phone go off with a text from Caleb. I took my phone off it’s dock again to see what he said.
“What would you like to do for dinner, little one?”
“I was thinking of cooking. What do you think?”
“You know I love it when you cook.”
“Alright, then that’s what I’ll do.”
“Ok. I can’t wait for this vacation to start.”
“Babe, after six it will be vacation time for all of us finally. You will be required to take a deep relaxing breath.”
“I’m going to need more than a deep relaxing breath.”
“I’ll do what I need to help you relax then.”
“I always look forward to that.”
I put my phone back on its dock and continue driving. The kids stayed silent for the next couple of hours of the drive until I needed to pee. I found a gas station to stop at and take a quick break. We got back in the vehicle and there was still silence. This drive sucks simply because it's just boring when there’s no one talking.
We finally arrived in Weslaco at four. I drove us straight to Caleb’s house to drop off our stuff and Daisy. When all of our things are out of the vehicle and put away in the house, I made sure to put the presents I brought under the tree in the living room. Daisy is running around the house enjoying being back at Caleb’s. She loves it here mainly because Caleb spoils the hell out of her. I watched as she checked the house for him. She gets so excited any time she sees him but currently she is pouting since he’s not here. She settled on the couch to wait for everyone else to come home.
Olivia, Archer and I get back in my vehicle and head over to Hannah and Peter’s house to pick up Ava and Reese. Once we get back to Caleb’s, I’ll be making dinner. I was already exhausted from today and just wanted to be away from my vehicle. When we get to Hannah and Peter’s we all get out of the vehicle and walk up to the front door. I knock and wait for someone to open the door. Soon after knocking Hannah opens the door with a large smile.
“Hey Harper. Y’all come on in,” she says while giving me a hug.
We all three walk into the house with her. I can hear Ava talking with Ryan and Hudson in the living room. Archer and Olivia rush off to find them leaving me to talk with Hannah.
“Peter picked up the present you ordered for Caleb yesterday. Once y’all leave tomorrow, we will go put it in his living room with a giant red bow,” she tells me.
“Perfect. You’re going to need to send me a picture so he can see it on Christmas Day,” I said laughing.
Unfortunately what I got Caleb couldn’t be wrapped because it’s too big. I ordered a pellet smoker for him to explore smoking foods with a little more. I knew he was going to love it. I would need to buy simple gifts in Minnesota for the kids to open at his parent’s and for Christmas Eve as my tradition calls for with the kids.
“Are you excited about the trip?” Hannah asks.
“Yes, and I’m also nervous.”
“You shouldn’t be. They are going to love you as much as Caleb does. Everyone loves you,” she reassured me.
“Thanks,” I said with a smile.
We walk into the living room where all of the kids are playing and talking happily.
“Harper,” Ava says with a big smile.
She rushes over and wraps her arms around my waist for a hug. I hug her back tightly.
“Hey there, baby girl.” I say.
Reese gets up off the couch and slowly walks over to me. His eyes were on the floor but he had a big smile on his face. I knew with that smile he was happy to see me. He wrapped his arms around me and I kissed the top of his head.
“Hey buddy,” I said softly.
Once the kids were done hugging me I asked, “Is anyone ready to go home so we can make dinner?”
“What are we making?” Olivia asks.
Her and Ava both looked at me intently. They love helping in the kitchen which I enjoy. The boys just sit there and watch most of the time. I also use the boys as my official taste testers when I’m making something new.
“How does Mediterranean pasta sound?”
“Sounds complicated,” Ava answers.
I laugh and tell her, “well that’s why I need help.”
“Ok. Let’s go,” Ava says grabbing her stuff.
We tell Hannah, Ryan and Hudson bye as we walk out the door. We climb into my vehicle and head back home to Caleb’s house for the rest of the night. I couldn’t wait to see Caleb when he got home and I’m sure he didn’t want to be at work anymore.