Saturday, September 3, 2011
How Many Hours Now?
I see movies and hear stories of children repeating over and over, "Are we there yet?" The parents, in the front seats, answer patiently at first, getting more frustrated as the question hammers on. Eventually, they lose it.
I have always laughed at their silly misfortune. I was lucky. My children would NEVER do that to me, right? They haven't in the past. Why would they have any reason to start now? I am getting off easy. TOO EASY.
Let's start at the beginning....It was 4:40 when I suddenly jerked out of slumber. Something had hit my ear. I laid there waiting...nothing. A few moments later, as I slipped back into dream land, I felt it again...and again. I jumped up thinking there was something in my bed. What on Earth was in my bed! Running to cut the light on, ready to strike at any moving object I may find when the light cast it's eye-squinting glow, I only see my husband sound asleep on the pillow next to mine. Then I notice it. His arm, outstretched towards the edge of my pillow, and his hand, twitching, fingers flicking at nothingness. That nothingness was once filled with matter...my head, and attached to my head, my ear.
I rejoined my husband, moving his hand. I lay there trying to reconnect with my disturbed dream. It all came back to me. I had dreamt about my grandmother. I suddenly remembered the whole reason for wanting to go visit her the next day. We were going to celebrate her birthday early, and yet, I didn't have a gift for her. Ideas circled in my head then it hit me. I knew what I had to do. I had to paint.
I flew out of bed, brushed my teeth, showered, and grabbed the box of Ritz and a jar of peanut butter as I ran upstairs. I scoured over images of lighthouses on the net as I crammed my make-shift breakfast in my mouth. Then, as the house slept on, I set to work painting my 7th painting...a lighthouse. She adores lighthouses (I've noticed most grandmothers do).
Later in the day, we packed the car, ready to head to NC to visit family and to surprise my grandmother with the freshly painted canvas. It was still wet, despite the hour I held the hair dryer over it. I placed it carefully in an unused cake box (because I love to make decorative cakes). I topped it with a ribbon bow and put in the back next to the suitcase as the kids clambered into their seats. The kids were wide awake. I let them sleep in, which I realized as the trip wore on, was a mistake.
Maybe two minutes after leaving the house, Caitlin (my youngest) asked, "How many hours will it take." I obliged her question with a smile. Five minutes later, "How many hours is it, now?" I answered her again. Five more minutes passed, and she asks, "How many hours is it, now?" Realizing where this was headed, I simply told her the answer and asked that she take a nap to make the time go by faster. "I can't sleep," she called to the front. "I want to know how many hours it is. I don't want it to be that long," she continued. Her father, who was driving, gave her the same answer with an addition of, "Give us some time, and then, you can ask again, " he cooed at her...wrapped around her little finger.
Another half hour down the road and you know what question piqued the interest of one certain little girl. The early hour of 4:40 and the smell of wet paint did not assist in my taking this new status of motion picture humor so lightly. That was for entertainment not reality...at least not in my life...PLEASE!
Finally, she fell asleep and so did I. After what felt like hours, I woke up feeling refreshed but saw I had only slept for forty-five minutes. We still had a way to go. With the kids still asleep in the back, my husband and I had many moments of quiet. It was a relief. We listened to music, held hands, and talked quietly amongst ourselves.
As we neared our exit, Caitlin straightened up in her seat. She was back to being wide awake. Zach, my usually ever behaving child sat quietly next to her. I think he knew what was coming. I could see him in the side mirror, turning to his sister and putting his finger to his mouth, "shhhh. Don't," he quietly pleaded. "You'll make the trip seem longer." It was too late.... Her blue eyes sparkled with energy, "How many hours, NOW," she nearly squealed.
Luckily for both of us, we were only ten minutes away.