Thursday morning Mom, Ava, Christian, Chloe, and I left for Tyler, Texas around 8:39 ish for our second (and possibly last) Speech and Debate Tournament. We took our big family truck, which resulted in plenty of space to spread out. Chloe was happy to take the absolute back since that meant she'd have three seats all to herself.
Mom's stomach was a little upset when we started out, but she hoped it was nothing. The further we got, though, the more fatigued she became. Several times we pulled over so she could walk around a little. Finally she had me take over driving as she wasn't just tired, she felt drugged. We were a little over halfway there at that point.
The nice thing about a road trip with older kids is that the car is completely quiet. Everyone was totally content to do their own thing, whether that be reading, looking out the window, listening to music, or sleeping.
We arrived in Tyler close to noon. It took us longer because I had to pull over several times for Mom to walk around. Her nausea kept getting worse. She was pretty sure she must have eaten something that didn't agree with her.
None of us were scheduled to compete until late in the afternoon, but we had lunch meal tickets we wanted to use. I lead us into the church to check in and get the tickets.
We ate our Chick-fil-a sandwiches and chips and fruit, while Mom rested in the bathroom.
Dad called me to try to get a plan. Mom was in no shape to judge the competition and we didn't know if, because of that, we would even be allowed to compete. I explain the situation to "someone who looked like a pretty in-charge person" and since I am 18, they said I could be responsible for my siblings and Mom could stay at the hotel, no judging responsibilities required.
Our check-in for the hotel was not supposed to be until later, but Mom needed to rest, she felt awful. I called our hotel and they said we could come early. Thankfully it was right down the road.
Mom was able to get us checked in and pretty much right after we dropped all of our bags in the room, she escaped to the restroom to empty her stomach. After that she felt some better.
She and Ava stayed in the room and I took the others back to the tournament.
Christian delivered his speech late in the afternoon after I finished communicating with Dad about what the plan for the weekend should be (this was a three-day tournament). During that time, Mia threw up at home.
We left the church around 5:30 and went to a very busy Subway to pick up dinner to take back to the hotel room.
Then we had the hardest time in the world finding an open Walmart (the one we thought we could go to apparently was still being built) to buy food for the next couple of days that we could take with us to the tournament.
Chloe and Christian joked about their new theme song needing to be "I will survive" since I was driving our truck all over an unfamiliar town, in the dark, without another adult. I was actually feeling a little bit proud of myself for being able to step up and be in charge of this road trip. Pretty quick, though, I realized that I would never have been able to do all that I did that day on my own. God was hands down the one sustaining me and giving me the confidence and wisdom and grace to walk through the events that transpired so differently from anything that I had planned or expected. *Insert the moment that Good Good Father comes on in Starbucks as I write and I have to choke back tears because that's currently my favorite song*
We got back to the hotel close to 7:30. Mom and Ava were watching "Flip or Flop" and trying to figure out what to do.
We ended up deciding that we should go ahead and drive home that night. Mom didn't want to risk anyone else (namely the drivers) getting sick and us then being stuck there. Others at home were getting sick and we knew all of us had been exposed.
So we let "in-charge" people know our plans and I drove us out of Tyler at 8:30. The others all put on their pajamas and settled down for the three hour trip. Again.
Christian especially was discouraged about leaving and not getting to compete (He had worked pretty hard preparing), but he came down with a fever in the car so we knew we'd made the right decision.
I got us to Dallas before my shoulders, neck, and back completely gave out. Our truck requires strength to control, especially on highways, so I was tense for the whole drive. There was no way to relax. It was a little discouraging to know all of the work of getting rid of that stress tension the past two months was virtually reversed, but I know that God has a plan and a purpose, even in that, and I'm so grateful that I was not sick and had the ability to drive us all home.
Mom drove us through Dallas, feeling well enough and awake enough after her rest to do that safely. Then Chloe took us through the home stretch. We got in a little before midnight.
Dad, Gabe, and Mia were all set up in the living room watching HGTV when we arrived. Everyone was grateful to be in their own beds after such a long, eventful day with the unexpected.
And so the quarantine went into effect. Mom "does blood," Dad "does throw-up." Dad was on duty.
Friday morning everyone slept in a lot and then most made their way to the living room to watch HGTV for a good part of the day. The rest of the time they slept, read, sipped ginger ale, etc.
I stayed in my room resting, having my Bible time, working, reading, etc.
I honestly couldn't tell if I was hungry because I'd not eaten in 18 hours,
or starting to get sick, or just afraid to eat.
Mom, Christian, and Mia were feeling better by the end of the day and no one else had come down with it.
We all watched Mall Cop and cautiously ate.
Saturday morning was also slow, but everyone felt fine.
In the afternoon the little girls decided they wanted to rearrange their room for fun. They had drawn out a floor plan depicting what they wanted to change and had already measured to be sure things would fit. Mom told them the could earn the privilege of rearranging their room by first making it clean and tidy.
That consumed a majority of their afternoon. And Mom's.
The boys did things together (most likely "things" that involved sports cards and games of poker), Dad worked, and Chloe and I both (yes, me too, but only after I worked some) read.
That night we all ate dinner and then the others watched "Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back," while Mom and I watched "Old Fashioned."
Sunday everyone was back to normal! We made our brunch meal and enjoyed eating with no thoughts of "what it might look like if it came back up."
I was so excited to drink a cup of coffee.
We had another restful afternoon and then all watched a Louie Giglio sermon.
After dinner and ice cream and some apple thing Chloe saw online and decided to try, the others watched "Star Wars, Return of the Jedi" and Mom and I watched "Alone, Yet Not Alone," which is a very serious movie, but we were laughing a lot because of a humorous group text strand that transpired during that time.
I love how every sunset is so different and yet always so beautiful. We never get to see one that is quite the same as the last, but each time I am amazed by the splendor of it. God designed each one to point us to Him for His glory.
Just. Like. Us.
We are created so differently, and yet each one of us is uniquely special. There is not a one of us that God did not create with love and for the purpose of glorifying Him, simply by being who He created us to be.
That Moment When...
Mom wears her plaid, pajama pants and her black, dress boots to drive home.
The Herd: Quoted
"Thinking about sleeping on the couch tonight, I really don't feel like making my bed." -Chloe
"You can have your own bed tonight!" -Me to Mom after she threw up in the hotel bathroom.
"What? No one wants to share with me?" -Mom
"Well you're lucky, I only get half the floor!" -Christian telling his friend where he'd be sleeping in the hotel room.
"Your turn isn't at this light, so keep going, but the light is red, so stop." -Chloe
"Does that look like an open Walmart to you?" -Me driving by one.
"No." -Christian joking at the same time.
"Wait, there's a Walmart? Is it open?" -Me apparently coming up on another one.
"Yes, it's open." -Chloe
"Oh no! It's closed!" -Christian as I pulled in.
"I thought this day was going to be so boring. Nope!" -Me
"He was so hitting on you!" -Chloe, as we leave Subway.
"No, just because somebody gives me free food, doesn't mean he's hitting on me." -Me
"Oh! And lock the car." -Me
"It's just so lame! So, so lame! They are just father and son! Lame!" -Mia after watching "The Empire Strikes Back."