Our family went to Florida after Christmas to spend a few days with Christian’s family. We left on New Years to come back home. At the end of two grueling days on the road, we stopped for dinner at IHOP in downtown Nashville, Tenn. We had three hours to go before we stopped for the night, so we decided to streamline the bedtime routine by having the kids brush their teeth before getting back on the highway.
It was quiet in the IHOP; the only other guests were the six college kids sitting two booths away from us. Julianna was still finishing her food, so it was just the two of us when the boys tromped past the college kids. A moment later, my ears perked up. “How can you not like kids?” said one of the college kids.
“I like them one at a time!” said another. “I just don’t like them, yanno, in a big mob.”
“Well,” hedged the first, “I like some kids. I don’t like the kids who go ‘I’m gonna SPIT IN YOUR CEREAL.’”
It was as if they had no idea their words carried. It was impossible not to overhear. I chuckled, but they didn’t seem to catch that, either.
Julianna went on eating, and I debated joining the conversation from a distance, but I didn’t want to be obvious about eavesdropping, and what in the world was I going to say, anyway?
The boys and Christian returned, and they packed up to go back to the van while I took Julianna to the bathroom for her ablutions. We came back out holding hands and laughing together about I don’t even remember what—I usually just try to make her laugh—and then she let go of my hand and stopped right in front of the college kids’ table to shout, “HI GUYS!”
“Hi!” they all responded in a happy chorus, as if it was perfectly ordinary to be accosted by a small child with an extra chromosome in a perfectly quiet restaurant.
And I thought, Well, I didn’t need to say anything to them at all. She’s a much better ambassador for childhood—not to mention Down syndrome–than I could ever be.
According to Google, it should take 17 hours and 24 minutes for us to drive to my in-laws’ place in Florida. Having driven to Disney a year ago, we were comfortable with how the trip would go. What we didn’t realize was that December the 27th is the day the Snowbirds all return to Florida.
Oh yes, and it was raining nine inches here, sixteen inches there.
There were accidents. There were flooded alternate routes. There were three and four lanes full of cars, some hitting their brakes and others trying to drive 90. And there was carsickness. A lot of carsickness.
It took over 21 hours, wheels turning on pavement. Plus stopping to clean out the carsick bucket, get gas, have a bite to eat, pick up what we forgot to pack, etc.
I just needed to get that out of my system before I share pictures, because it was quite a nice trip once we got there.