Dan's sister had the nerve to get married. Even more jerkishly, she invited us to attend the wedding. Laylee's job was to dress as a bridesmaid or "mini-bride" as she calls it. My job was to procrastinate making her insanely elaborate bridesmaid's dress until well past the last possible second.
Leading up to the wedding, we were all sick and dying which inflamed my usual tendency for procrastination into a full-blown disease. I was too sick to sew. The kids were too sick for me to sew. They needed me to watch them blow their noses while rubbing Vicks all over them. It was too rainy to sew. Then the weather was too nice for us to be cooped up inside.
Two days before we had to leave for the wedding, I got down to serious work on the gown. For the better part of two days and nights I sat in my personal sweatshop, gathering and stitching yards and yards of fabric and netting and breaking sewing machine needles on the small metal decorations on the fabric.
At 10:30 pm the night before we had to leave for the wedding, I broke my last sewing machine needle with about 15 inches of zipper left to sew. I had a complete meltdown, very nearly setting the gown on fire, and proceeded to START packing for the trip. By 1:30 am, Dan and I crashed into bed with the alarm set for 7 am the next morning.
The alarm became unnecessary as Laylee woke up at 4 am screaming with a raging ear infection. I sat up with her off and on until 8 am, waiting for the pediatrician's office to open. Dan took her in for some antibiotics while Magoo “helped” me pack the car for our 14 hour road trip.
By 10:30 we were off, a couple of hours late but still okay. The kids were excited and I was delirious with lack of sleep. Laylee's unfinished dress was stuffed in a bag in the back of the van, hoping for some kind soul to rescue it when we got to Utah. I closed my eyes to catch a little rest.
Two hours into the drive, Laylee started bawling and screaming for a barf bowl. The antibiotics were too harsh on her stomach and before we could react to her request, she was vomiting all over herself. We handed her a plastic bag which she held in front of her ineffectively while she continued to fill her car seat with yorch. I was filled with a sudden unmistakable sense of my own motherhood.
And then the traffic stopped. Two semi-trucks had turned over on the mountain road and we were stuck in traffic. Laylee begged us to pull into a gas station and clean her up. But there was no gas station and we weren't really moving anywhere. Half an hour later, we pulled off the road and followed our GPS to a small town a few miles off the freeway. The town had one gas station and the only facilities they would allow us to use were the porta-potties out in the snow-covered parking lot. For running water, they told us we would need to drive to the public restrooms in the next town over.
So we scooped out and wiped down the car seat, stripped and redressed Laylee and got back on the road. With the blizzard we hit in Oregon, the slush/hail/lightning storm in Idaho and the construction in Utah, we managed to turn our usual 14-hour drive into a fun-filled 16-hour adventure of vomit, disease and ear pain. At 3:30 am we rolled up to our in-laws house with a couple of wild crazy kids who were ready to play and two tired parents who both felt like we'd been officially hazed by the fraternity of true parenthood.