You know that feeling; it usually comes in the morning as I'm rushing around half asleep trying to get school lunch packed, breakfast made, Leo changed and ready for his morning therapy sessions, bills looked at and sighed over, and laundry... well laundry usually can wait. The weather outside the window when this feeling arises is horrible as usual, a combination of cold with either something gross falling from the sky, or something gross on the ground, like three feet of mud and muck. There's no sign of spring flowers and chirpy birds and Easter bunnies. And the feeling comes on like a ton of bricks: we need a change!! A break, an escape from the stress of the routine, something needs to be shaken up, and new experiences and new sights to be made.
So this time, when the feeling hit us a couple weeks ago, instead of just griping about it, we just went ahead and did it.
Not for long, don't worry! No bridges were burnt, and no children left behind.
We packed up the car with our bare essentials that consisted of every possible kid entertainment device, snacks, sunglasses, meds, Leo's whole medical history in a waterproof folder and retreated from the routine to a softer and mellower place.
We drove probably 20 hours during three days to get down to Charleston, South Carolina. We broke it up into easy chunks staying the first night with dear friends in NYC and then taking them with us the next to Virginia, and then making the final push to Charleston where we all (14 of us) crashed in a fancy and giant beach house on Isle of Palms..
Yes it was Great and Holy Thursday by the time we got there. Even though we missed our church and parish services in body we were there in spirit through the wonders of technology. Our home parish does a live streaming broadcast of every service so instead of the usual road trip diversions and shenanigans, our drive felt more like a pilgrimage, thanks to my iPhone. Crazy!
Our escape wasn't totally complete since the bad weather had a hard time letting go of us. The southerners were complaining to us for the first couple days down there of the unseasonably cold and rainy weather.
Yeah, that may have been our fault. So even though I had packed sun dresses and flip flops, in reality we had to pull out the "just in case" sweaters out of the suitcases.
But slowly the weather gave up and went away, sulking, and we got to enjoy several warm and sunny days. We spent a wonderful weekend at the church of Holy Ascension in Mt. Pleasant. If you haven't been there or heard of it, check it out, it's totally gorgeous and amazing. And it was designed by a good friend of ours!
Leo learned how to say; Christ is Risen, Y'all!
After the joyful bustle and rush of Pascha was over, we just couldn't bring ourselves to head back. We spend several more days bumming off friends and loafing around Charleston and Folly beach, soaking up the sun at every historic and architecturally enlightening corner.
And umm..palm trees! Wow! Actually I'm southern savy enough now to say "its a palmetto, stupid."
Our time finally had to end, so we said goodbye to the south and went home, via Norfolk and Delaware to make one last stop at another friends house who we haven't seen since Justin graduated from Seminary.
By the way, the bridges and tunnels across Chesapeake Bay are awesome.
All in all, we broke the routine in a wonderful and special way that not only gave us great memories, but also taught us that traveling with kids can be wonderful. That sometimes getting out of the comfort zone actually can make room for new growth, new ideas and perspectives.
I learned that we can go on a major trip with Leo without a major disaster taking place.
Or any disaster! He was perfect. Taking every new place in stride and even enjoying it. He may have grown half an inch too. Nika blossomed like a tropical flower, and even the long hours in the car couldn't wilt her.
It was nice to be back home though, of course.