Ever have one of those weeks? Those weeks that sustain you through the rest of the month or the next several months? The kind of week where you’re just exhausted from “good”- good feelings, good pacing, good food and most importantly, good friends? The kind where you’re glad to see it end because the goodness is overwhelming everyone and you see the beginning of “too much” approaching, but you leave just before it does arrives?
We had one of those weeks.
It started on Wednesday. We were going to drive to Louisville, KY from GA, but take our time. Which meant that we had a bunch of errands to run before we left, and life being what it was, we left at the crack of 11:00am. We basically just made it out of town before the litany of “I’m hungry” started. Lunch in Savannah and we were on our way… to get stuck in rush-hour Atlanta traffic- for 4 hours- for 100 miles of bumper-to-bumper. And it was ok…
Because I was reading aloud. I was the “book on tape” that would answer questions. We were reading “Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief” and the children were entranced- as was I… as was James, driving through all of this. At one point, I stopped to rest my voice, and even he was talking about it. We physically passed through Atlanta, but all of us were at Camp Half-Blood, wondering who Percy’s father was. We had discussions about Greek gods. We looked information up on our Iphone (3G in Atlanta!). It was… fun!
Then, we spent the night in TN and went to the Country Music Hall of Fame where we oohed and ahhed over Elvis’s gold limousine, Carrie Underwood’s ginormous red dress and sang along to “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. The children wanted to run through the building, but that was ok. Elizabeth bought a pink cowboy hat with a fake tiara on it, Ray bought a bag of Western plastic cowboys, and James bought a Johnny Cash action figure. We got a Christmas ornament, and headed back on the highway.
More traffic. More reading. Percy headed out on his quest.
Louisville- 5:00pm- Thursday. Dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant- yay! Off to the reading at Barnes and Noble (more later…). Met up with “Jack”, a very good buddy of Ray’s, and his family. We were going to spend the night with them, and they took the children back to their house while James and I talked with friends old and new at the bookstore- and bought the rest of the Percy Jackson series.
Friday- we left at the crack of 2:00pm after going shopping for shoes- Elizabeth has very difficult feet to shop for (narrow, narrow feet) and it generally requires a city of selection to keep her shod. If she wouldn’t insist on growing… sigh. Lunch with other friends, and we were off… to get stuck in traffic again. More reading- Percy got attacked on the bus!
We stopped in Bowling Green, KY to let the traffic ease and to go to the Corvette Museum. You know those random museums you see off the road? I just love stopping at those. The Corvette Museum is not to be missed. Lots of things for the children to play with and lots of cars to drool over. Even the sound of the engine with its throaty roar makes you excited. Everyone now wants one… The children ran and ran through it and touched everything. It was wonderful!
A night in Nashville, and leaving for Atlanta, (more reading- Percy killed Medusa!) where we went to the Georgia Aquarium in the afternoon. The GA Aquarium is the largest in the world and has an incredible pool and tunnel where you can see the fish up close. Jack is absolutely crazy about sharks- I mean, he knows more about sharks than most professors. He was rattling off shark facts and telling us about the various fish we were seeing. It was wonderful having a tour personally guided-by-a-seven-year-old! There was one view of the tank that had dim lighting where the people were, a 15 foot wall of glass looking into a tank full of rays, groupers and sharks, stadium seating, and soaring music playing- it was very trippy and even I was in a bit of a sensory over-load.
Unfortunately, in the gift shop where we bought a Christmas ornament, Ray got overwhelmed and started a melt-down. It wasn’t a screaming one, just a black-mood,-glowering-looks-and-grunting one, but enough to make all of us sad.
And this is where I truly value good friends. Friends with a kid whom I adore and my kids adore. Friends that can take my kids’ moments of oddness in stride and follow our lead. Friends who have a son who just chalks it up to “Ray being Ray” and waits it out. Jack and Ray are very much alike in some respects and share so many interests in common and we both tend to parent in similar manners. These are true friends. So, dinner, which could have been so challenging, what with Ray sitting at another table and growling, ended up a nice time as we all managed to ignore him. Elizabeth and Jack entertained each other and we ate fresh home-made pasta. Abbondanza! (a lovely Italian word that means “plentiful” and “joyful”- related to “abundance”)
Then, back to hotel with swimming! And adult conversation! And basketball! (Go, Butler!)
To get up on Easter Sunday morning and go to the Botanical Gardens. More running of children. Sunshine. Tulips. Dogwoods. Birds. Bliss. Truly, “church”. (and another Christmas ornament).
Lunch at a Cuban restaurant and back on the highway. Replete. Full. Grateful.
This was a sustaining week. We’re all tired, missing our friends, and full of ethnic food, images of cowboys, flowers, cars and fish filling our heads. And only one meltdown because it was all… perfectly paced, lots of down time, lots of support of friends, lots of short trips that allowed lots of movement, lots of food. Lots of Percy.
It was a good week.