|Joel and Autumn the last time we spent Christmas together in 2008|
December 25, 2012
Early Christmas morning:
West Virginia is covered in several inches of white. It's early and there's little traffic on the road. I imagine the seeming tranquility of the homes we are passing is deceptive. If there are children in those houses, I can only imagine what's going on behind their doors.
Northern Virginia is covered in snow as well though it's not nearly as deep as to the north of us. Larry says that we'll be in this state forever. I'm glad that we at least got as far as Maryland last night. I don't ever remember a Christmas that we spent the entire day on the road. There's still a part of me that can't believe we're even doing this. I remember our first Christmas together when we drove all night Christmas eve to get from Kentucky to New York. We were much younger then, naturally impulsive and with a lot more energy. We listened to Christmas music the entire trip, pulling into my parents' driveway in the early morning hours. We thought we'd be spending that Christmas alone as our car had died a few weeks earlier. But one of the profs at the seminary had posted that he had a Buick Electra for sale and Larry approached him about letting us use it for the week with the possibility of buying it. He agreed. I still remember the anticipation and excitement I felt on that ride, singing one carol after another as the miles sped by. It was one of our best Christmases ever. And yes, we bought the car.
The trip is longer this time, these thirty-six years later. And we're not going to see our folks. They're gone now and our siblings have their own families, living in various places all over the country. No, we're going to see two of our kids, the baby and the boy, the ones who need us the most this Christmas. It's been four years since we've spent this day together, way too long.
A couple hours later:
The grass is now peeking through the snow. It won't be much farther til it's completely green again. And warmer of course. We've been warned that there's going to be some pretty severe storms in the Gulf States, especially in Alabama. Our destination. But that won't be for awhile yet.
I brought my Andrea Bocceli Christmas CD along. Why does that perfect tenor voice make me cry so easily? I've also brought an old edition of Guidepost's Christmas classics from the church library. The stories touch me and when I try to read them aloud to Larry I can hardly get through them. I know that this trip to some might not seem sensible, traveling over 1100 miles to spend just three days with two of our kids. But sometimes we do things that aren't exactly logical. We do them because that's what our heart tells us to do.
We just passed a man driving a jeep with a wrapped Christmas tree attached to the roof of his vehicle. He has North Carolina plates and he's heading in the same direction we are. I caught a glimpse of his face as we passed. He was alone but there was a smile on his face. I wish I knew a little of his story, it's got to be a good one.
Autumn has called, wanting to know where we are. How much further she asks. Makes me think of when the kids were younger, especially when we were traveling from Alabama to New York. Autumn was always wanting to know how much further it was. Some things just never change, no matter the years.
We started getting bad rain just north of here. We had some in Tennessee but then it tapered off. I thought, or perhaps hoped, that we'd been through the worst of it. I couldn't have been more wrong. Poor Larry, the yellow lines are impossible to see it's coming down so hard. Autumn keeps texting wondering where we're at. There are tornado warnings to the south of us.
"Mom, you're only a half an hour away!" Autumn texts. I remember as kids we would anxiously await the arrival of my southern cousins each summer, our hearts beating at the sound of every car that came down Mill Street, hoping it was the one with Carolina plates. There's nothing quite like the anticipation that comes with waiting on someone who's traveled hundreds of miles to be with you.
"Get in here quick," Joel hollers as we pull into the drive. "The sirens just went off." Why did I not think to throw my umbrella in the car before we left New York? I hold one of the bags I brought from home over my head and make a dash through the rain. Autumn grabs me as I rush through the door. "Mom, you're here!"