WARNING: The following blog may contain massive amounts of whining, moaning and complaining.
Let me first say HI to my new followers. Welcome to the crazy world of me. Also, hi to my early followers - I've been absent for a couple of weeks. I apologize!
This weekend I had to accompany my man to the reunion of his mother's family. Said reunion took place on the outskirts of Monroe, which is a good four-hour drive from our home. In the week leading up to this event, I found myself stressing immensely over not only the drive with two small children, but the packing that was to be done. Bottles, formula, diapers, wipes, toys, snacks, juice, milk, blankets, clothes, shoes, baby tylenol, baby tummy medicine, cereal, pacifiers, and the list goes on and on - and that's not even the stuff needed for Gary and myself! Luckily I did not have to work on Thursday, so I had a little bit of extra time to prepare.
Friday morning: the bags are packed and in the car, babies in car seat, Gary in reasonably good mood, we're off! Five hours later (we had to make a few stops) we arrive in Monroe at our hotel. Immediately we are reunited with Gary's parents (who we haven't seen in over a month), Gary's mother's two sisters and one sister's husband. Then it starts....
Before I can get the car unpacked, the barrage of questions begins - "How have you been?" "Are you still working?" "Should she be drinking juice?" "Have they had naps?" "When do you want to go to dinner?" On and on.....and on. Now, let me just say before people assume incorrectly - I love Gary's parents. I do. Really. I'm just the type of person who doesn't care to be bombarded with questions rapid-fire. Give me a moment to gather myself, to articulate an appropriate (and not rude) response. At least let me answer ONE question before asking another!
Fast-forward (car is unpacked, babies changed) to dinner. Fairly uneventful, which I was quite happy about. My only problem was that the LSU game was on the television across the room and I couldn't see the score. Anna was happy, so no fussy baby dealings. Hayden was merrily dipping anything and everything into honey mustard sauce (the majority of which ended up on her shirt). We retired to our rooms and thankfully had the rest of the evening to put the babies to sleep and rest.
The actual reunion took place on Saturday. We had to drive about 40 minutes into the backwoods to the home of someone's mother, I'm not entirely sure who though. We had our faithful Garmin leading the way. We were doing great until Garmin directed us to make a left onto PR### (Note: PR means Public Road - a road without a name yet). Said road was gravel. We drove down it a while, and the gravel turned into dirt. A few hundred yards further, the dirt disappeared and we were driving through grass. Suddenly, trees. Nothing but trees. The garmin showed the checkered flag for our chosen destination only a short distance away. How was this possible? Gary realized that the Garmin was picking up the public road that was not quite finished yet. Awesome. So we turned around and headed back, hoping for an alternate route to appear. "Recalculating," said Mr. Garmin as we headed down the dead-ended road. It instructed us to turn left down another public road. Gary obediently turned, and after about a half mile, another dead end. I began laughing hysterically until tears were streaming down my face. We had a quarter tank of gas, no cell service, and no idea where we were. Fabulous.
We considered laying on the horn until someone came to save us (or we attracted a starving bear or another equally horrifying animal). Finally, we decided to go back to the asphalt road and hope for the best. TA-DA! New route, and down a paved road (mostly), no less. We finally made it to the reunion, about thirty minutes after everyone else. Jokes all around, hardy-har-har. Yes, we're idiots. Moving on...
Personally, I have always been a fan of family reunions. My grandmother's family hosted reunions every single year since before I can remember, and we always had a blast. Three days together, laughing, eating, staying up late, and catching up. Wonderful memories. However, it's a slight different when it's not YOUR family with which you're reunioning (not sure if that was an actual word, but you get me).
If you're lucky, you know a handful of people there. Extremely lucky if you know ten people. Myself, I somewhat knew about 9 people. Other than that, complete strangers. So, of course you get the "who is that girl?" stares. People asking you a million questions about who you are, what you do, where you're from, blah blah blah. Then if you're a parent, any time you do anything at all with your child(ren) you get the looks that say "I would never let my child do that/give my child that/etc." These people don't even know you and within ten minutes they've decided that you're a terrible parent and can't understand why in the world someone in their family would be with someone like you. Then comes the advice. People want to share their wonderful parenting skills with you.
I'm not saying these aren't good people. They are all probably wonderful people. My thing is this: if you don't know me, please don't attempt to enlighten me.
I endured four hours of uncomfortable conversation and strangers holding my children before Gary - thankfully - decided it was time to go. Back to the hotel for a rest, then dinner AGAIN with about twenty-five people. We sat down at six and ordered. At eight, we were just receiving our dinner. My girls were restless, we were tired. Gary decided we would get the food to go and just leave. Apologies all around, goodbye.
So last night everyone gathered in Gary's parent's hotel room to tell stories and hang out. I luckily needed to stay in our room to tend to the babies. After putting Anna down, I got in bed and drifted off into a peaceful sleep, dreamily awaiting morning and our return home.
Back to today. We're home. It's fairly late, both babies are asleep. Peaceful. I'm sure I've rambled quite ridiculously here. I don't even know if it all made sense. Hopefully I made some sort of point. I can take some joy in knowing that these reunions are only every OTHER year. Yay.