This past weekend we traveled to Emerald Isle, NC to celebrate my Papa’s 85th birthday. We packed the car with everything we would just die without for two days; multiple pillows, blankies, babies, movies, crayons, Legos, Star Wars guys, Dora the Explorer, apples, “cuties,” carrots, cereal, yogurt, cheese, milk, juice boxes and even a special chemical filled treat for when the troops started getting antsy. We were ready to go celebrate 85 years of my wonderful Papa’s life. We almost forgot the children, but that’s beside the point.
As we got underway, the kiddos happily in a SpongeBob coma (thanks to our portable two screen DVD player) we put in our very special CD, our dance party on the road CD, that my boy helped put together. We had everything from Beiber to One Direction; I was in teeny-bop heaven. After the second hour on the road the grumbling began. The boy, who by now has gone on this journey many times, begins to whine, “How many more hours,” and “ How long does it TAKE”. Yes, he was starting to irritate me. Finally, after the fifth time he asked, I turned to him and very quietly told him why he was going to not ask any more questions on the trip down and that he should be very, very grateful for the distraction of a TV, for crying out loud. All I had was a discman and a book and I was happy when I was a child; none of this movie watching in the car stuff (I quickly realized I was pulling the whole “back in my day” scenario. It made me a little nauseous to realize I was old enough to do that).
We finally arrived after four hours (or forty hours depending on who you ask) we got ourselves settled and relaxed without any harm being done. No throw-up, no stopping twenty times to use the potty, no crying, and just a little whining about how long it was taking. I was astounded; the kiddos are really growing up! The next day while Daddy stayed home to watch VCU pound Butler (HAVOC!), I took the darlings to the beach for some fun in the sun and sand and a little picnic. The water was perfect, I wish it had been a summer day, there was not a cloud or wave in sight. Slick calm, as my waterman father would say. We played and played and after lunch took a walk to collect some shells. I really could live happily ever after at the beach.
That evening we had a wonderful family get together celebrating my Papa’s 85th birthday (which is actually March 7). My Papa is a glorious human being. He is smart, funny, and my go-to-guy regarding all things in the garden. He can build you a house or a rocking horse, make a mean chocolate fig cake or grill a steak. He is a man of many talents, and I love him dearly. He has excellent taste in women (after all he married the most wonderful woman in the world 59 years ago), he is a sharp dresser and according to him “the best dressed man in church” on Sunday mornings. He spoils his little dog Gracie and loves his family fiercely. They don’t make them like Bert Mercer (Papa) anymore. We had a grand time celebrating and he even suggested he could do a push-up for every year he had celebrated a birthday, and I have no doubt that he could do it!
Our trip home was much quieter than the ride down. The little flower fell asleep while the boy happily sketched with his new colored pencils. Each year it gets easier and easier but the tried and true question will always remain, “are we there yet”?