I do and I don't mind the drive out. On one hand, it's a long drive and I love those. Just me, the road, whatever music I want on the radio and a lack of self-consciousness about singing along to it. I don't get too much road time anymore, and it's starting to show around the edges - I'm getting a lot of the same problems I used to have when I was first beginning to drive back, not to mention my eternal squirrelliness about left turns - I pretty much drive like Zoolander models. Part and parcel of not really driving much anymore I guess, but it bothers me that I've gotten visibly rusty at Actual Driving. But I digress. It was a chance to drive, yes. On the other hand, it's to a destination to which I only go because I have to, along a route that frankly makes me want to drink afterwards, and it is, when you come down to it, about five hours total in the car.
All that said, the end result is worth the aggravation, which is getting to hang out with my two favorite small people.
About two thirds through the trip back, we usually stop at the Wendy's off of Rt. 2 in Gardner for something vaguely snacky, either because the kids didn't get dinner before pickup or because the grownups in the car got hungry. It's just become sort of a thing now - we'll sometimes change it up and stop at Friendly's, but most times we end up here and the kids have come to expect it as our normal pit stop, to be skipped only if no one feels like eating or going potty. Tonight I had to wake them out of dead sleeps to go in and eat; their sleepy grumps over their food amused me enough to take a picture.
Of course once I looked at it, I realized I'd taken an almost identical one before. I looked it up when I got home just to prove I wasn't crazy.
Yep. Not the same booth, but pretty much the same picture, same car-weary grumpies, same kids, minus almost three years. Wow. I kinda want to take another picture of them three years from now at Wendy's. For science. Or something.
Every so often I'll get a picture of Kidzilla where she either seems older than her age, or there's some hint of what she's going to look like when she grows up, and I'll just kinda sit and look at it and just marvel at how damn quickly time flies, how fast they are growing up, and lastly, and maybe more poignantly, how long we've all been doing this. I mean, I've known them both since Kidzilla was small enough to still find her toes fascinating and possibly tasty, but that's sort of different from being an active part of their lives and doing my little bit to poke them here and there into being whatever people they end up being. I mean... this was about how big they were when cell23 and I became A Thing:
Needless to say they're a wee bit bigger now, but my gods, where the hell did the time go, seriously.
The other thing all this reminded me of was my own childhood and how much of it was spent in the backseat of my mom's car. I was amusing Kidzilla over her chili** by telling her tales of driving to Ohio to visit my grandmother, and just what a desolate wasteland I-80 through Pennsylvania is, and how I always knew we were getting close to Grandma's by the change in gas stations (is SOHIO still a thing?) and more relevant to my interests, the sudden appearances of Bob Evans. Oh Bob Evans. I realize it's the midwest equivalent of Friendly's and therefore probably terrible, but 5-14 year old me still has a soft spot for their chicken soup with the fat noodles. Anyway, the thing that made her eyes get all big was the idea that we'd spend all day and almost all night in the car just getting there. Certainly put 3 hours into perspective, anyway. 'Course, they spend most of the trip asleep...
Anyway. They're tucked into bed finally. It feels weird having them here on a "school night" everything about today is telling me FRIDAY and it's not. Tomorrow morning I have to get all of us up and out the door - Me and cell23 off to work as usual, but first I'm driving them to their Pepère's to hang for the day. But then, kid weekend, progress as usual.
Time to shower, sack out, and pray it'll be a bit warmer tomorrow morning. Least I don't have to be at work at ass forty five.
* I keep wanting to make Kessel Run jokes every time I say this. Problem is I haven't yet found a way to make River sound anywhere near as cool as the Millenium Falcon. I could say that I make it in less than 3/4ths of a tank of gas, but in the age of hybrid cars that's just not impressive. I suppose it's impressive that Teeny Weenie Blue Car of Nondescript Doom has racked up almost 160K worth of Boston runs over the past four years and change and not fallen apart yet.
** Holy crap! She's outgrown kids meals! That's a super new development. Does this mean we finally get to introduce her to the wonderful world of Beyond the Mac and Cheese option on menus???