One of my other longtime good friends, Beth, was in town to have her daughter's first birthday party. She and her family moved to Austin, Texas about a year a half ago. They used to live in Oceanside near where we went to High School together. Her mom still lives in Oceanside. After Beth had Molly last year, she decided she wanted to come home for Molly's first birthday party. I haven't seen Beth and her family since they moved and she really wanted to see me and my family too, so I agreed to come to the birthday party. Then I found out it was the same weekend Kelly and Penn were visiting. Why does everything happen at the same time? No matter though, because Penn's brother lives in L.A. and they wanted to spend time with him. Saturday gave them perfect opportunity, while we took a horrible ride to Oceanside.
Let me start by telling those of you who don't live in Southern CA, you have NO IDEA what shitty traffic is. Trust me on this one. You may hit a backup here or there on the highway, but until it takes you almost four hours to get somewhere that should take you an hour and a half, you have NO IDEA. Yes, that's how long it took us to get there. We knew that we would encounter some traffic, which is why we left in what we thought was plenty of time. Apparently not. Maybe if we would have left when the girls woke up at 7am that morning, THAT would have been plenty of time, but not at noon.
We were doing well for a while and so were the girls. Georgia and Lana even fell asleep for a bit. Then the nightmare began. We started hitting some really slow traffic about thirty five miles from where we were going. Everyone was awake at that point. The baby breakdowns didn't start immediately. First it was just a whimper or whine from Georgia and, for a while, goldfish, and banana muffins were doing well to keep that to a minimum. Unfortunately, the longer we sat and didn't move, the more she started to lose it. I eventually moved to the back of the van to try and entertain her with whatever I could find in my backpack. Some things wound up thrown on the ground right away, others kept her occupied for about two minutes. Then Lana decided she'd had enough.
"I want get down." She said as just a polite request at first. Then "I WANT GET DOWN!!"
I tried explaining to her that she couldn't while the van was still moving, but it was a pretty bad point to make since we weren't moving at all. At this point we were three hours into the trip. It was pointless to get off and take a break, because we'd never get back on again. Not to mention we were already an hour late for the party. We just stuck it out and Andy kept driving. I could almost see the fire coming out of his eyes, but he didn't say anything. I could feel fire building in me too, but I kept my mouth shut. When you're in these situations it's best to push your anger aside and just focus on the task at hand and the kids. If you even start to get mad you'll totally lose it and so will they.
I managed to keep Lana from a complete breakdown with the promise of cake at the party. Sonya was keeping herself occupied with coloring. Thank goodness I have one old enough to busy herself. She would just occasionally ask if we were at San Diego yet, and what kind of cake would there be? Georgia on the other hand, decided she'd had enough. The promise of cake was lost on her. I was done trying to keep her from erupting, and knowing that we were almost off the highway, I just let her go. She cried and whined for a while, until we finally got on another road that actually moved. Then she only cried and whined when we stopped at a light. Lana would start with the whining and I'd just say,
"It's okay Lana we're almost at the cake." She'd briefly calm down.
We finally did arrive at the party, and I've never been so glad to get the hell out of a car in my entire life. The girls were instantly better the moment those doors opened and we unbuckled them. Andy and I breathed a sigh of relief that we were out of the scream filled car. I got Lana out of her seat and told her, "we're here", then put her down on the sidewalk. She looked up at me and said, "NOW cake?"
"Yes, Lana. Now cake," I said, hoping that our tardiness would mean if the cake wasn't already cut, it would be soon. Luckily it was brought out within the first 10 minutes of our arrival.
The good thing is the girls had a great time in the bounce house and wore themselves out for the drive home, which was much better all around. You're lucky I like you, Miss Bethann. Although, next time I may just buy my girls a cake that says, "Happy Birthday, Molly". Then I'll send you the gift in the mail. It will probably get there before we do.