When my son suggested we all take a road trip out to Iowa to attend my niece’s wedding, I thought he was crazy.
He has seven kids. I like my quiet. Not everyone likes long car rides and I don’t like to be in close quarters with people who don’t.
But flying all of us out from Connecticut was just too expensive, and everyone loves my niece so of course we were going if we had to hitch up mules. So in the wee hours of July 14, we loaded up and took off.
Reader, I dreaded it. I actually lost sleep over it, worried that I’d lose my patience and spoil my pretty-good record with the grandkids of not screaming at any one. I mean, with that many bladders and my son pulling a small trailer for the luggage, we weren’t going to make good time and as it turns out, we spent 12 hours each day in the car.
Reader, I had no occasion to scream. It was the best family vacation I’ve ever had, and I’ve had some great ones. People either slept, or giggled. I looked in the rearview at one point, and the 20-year old had the happiest face ever because he’d discovered that my back seats fold down. “This is a game-changer, my friend,” he said.
On the dance floor at the wedding, one of the grandgirls had the happiest, goofiest look on her face, so for the rest of the trip (and probably her life), I kept imitating it. Think Joker Meets A Bobble Head. Turns out, the two-steppers in the seed barn where the reception was held were more than happy to teach our East Coasters the moves, and the East Coasters were more than happy to teach — well, whatever their dance moves are. I wouldn’t know. I mostly just get out on the dance floor and jump around. I like to think of myself as an ice breaker because what I’m doing out there definitely isn’t dancing. My brother practiced hard so he could dance with his daughter, the bride, and my heart went out to him for trying. As far as dancing goes, we’re all really good singers.
We all then toggled south to the Joplin area to share our moves down there. I kept getting compliments on how well behaved are the grandchildren, so of course I pretended that all credit should go to me, all to me. I spent time with my big brother (that’s us at the rehearsal dinner) both at the wedding, and then down on the farm in Missouri. I got to be reminded how much I love my sister-in-law, my cousins, my Aunt Julie.
Man, I had fun. Man, I’m tired. And broke. And happy.