Wednesday, May 19, 2010

At least someone loves my parents enough to visit.

My poor parents had the misfortune of giving birth to a not-prone-for-homesickness sort of person.  I never wonder where my children inherited their lack of separation anxiety, it all came from me.  (And having to never worry about my kids freaking out when I leave them anywhere, I would like to take a minute and thank myself)

When I went to college at the tender age of seventeen (my 18th birthday a distant month away), I did not go back home till probably Thanksgiving.  It wasn't like a huge ordeal, either.  It was a 40 minute drive from Provo, Utah to Sandy, Utah.  (I just mapquested it and it was 37 minutes / 31.71 miles).  At least I called often, right?  Wrong.  I was and always will be the worst caller on the face of the planet.  Back then I, as a computer/electrical engineering major, had access to one of the only computer labs connected to the internet, but e-mail was a brand new concept and wasn't going to be a way to communicate.  (Lest you think I remained in an engineering program, I did not.  After my sophomore year I transferred to physics education- you know to teach high school physics.)

So anyway, half way through my freshman year I started dating some guy 3 1/2 years older than myself and newly home from a mission to Norway.  Guess what he loved?  Going home to visit my family.  So all of a sudden we were headed over almost every Sunday.

Fast forward five years.  I've married this guy, we have 2 children and live 17 hours away from my family (Mapquest says 17 hours 4 minutes / 1185.25 miles) while said husband is in his second year of medical school.  I had argued, quite successfully I felt, that we should stay home for Christmas.  It was too much hassle to load up the car with all the presents and drive 17 hours straight (yes, that is how we always made the trip, without stopping unless the car was hiccuping its last fumes of gas) for only a little over a week.

I know, I am a true sentimental.  Sue me.

Anyway, Peter finished classes up and came home with this look.  "I really, really want to be at your parents' for Christmas."  I was in the middle of protesting when the two by four made contact with my head (this is a figurative two by four, my husband wanted to go, but not THAT badly).  Hello?!?  My husband was begging to make an insanely long and cramped drive . . . to see my family.  How backwards is that?  So I took a deep breath and said,  "Yes."

We loaded up the car that afternoon and set off immediately.   We told no one except my sister and her husband (because someone needed to know if we never arrived).  With the exception of a terrible snow storm through Nebraska and a deer who nearly killed us when we almost hit it, we made it through great.  Actually the snow storm and deer hit (figurative again) at the same time and the storm prevented us from stopping to save the deer.  It was saved by jumping out of the way at the last second and gave us the adrenaline to not worry about getting sleepy for the rest of the trip.

The next morning we pulled up to the house, set our two kids on the front porch, rang the doorbell, and ran to the side of the house to observe the results.  It was awesome!  My family couldn't figure out why two little kids were on their porch at first, then they were recognized and reality hit.  One of the best Christmases ever.  Totally worth the 17 hour drive without being able to move my legs (I insisted we could only go if we fit all the presents into the car.  I was literally -not figuratively- packed around and drove the whole trip with presents on my lap, under my feet, and around my body.

So anyway, loving family, just know that someone in this house loves you enough to make sacrifices.  And you're lucky I married him.

The End.

(This post is part of 5 for 10: Yes! and also a response to a pleasant memory I had when reading Momza's blog this morning)

What we packed into that tiny car:
 Luckily, Peter's brother loaned us a car top for the return trip:

This was our first year with matching pajamas.
My mom made them after we showed up
(please do not note the flat topped hair
and yet to ever be plucked eyebrows):
The whole family (why are you not there Brenda?) at temple square:

Lest you think my husband heartless
we spent New Years in Las Vegas with his parents.
He loves you guys, too:

post signature


  1. Dude what happened to Peter? You guys never come down to visit anymore :( I LOVED that you guys were always around. I was just a kid when you runnedoff.

    PS what the heck is with my baggy pants? What was I thinking???

  2. YEA!! I love your story! Best gift ever!!! I bet your Mom was stunned, just like I was yesterday!
    These things make the best, sweetest memories!!

  3. Tom loves my family, too, and is always happy to go spend the night there (they live an hour away and have a fantastic house/backyard for the kids). When we were engaged he pretty much moved in -- my mom made up the front "parlor" for him. (I lived at home that semester, 30 min from BYU and he didn't have a car.)

    I love going there too, but there were almost 10 years when we only saw them 1-2 times a year, and were so far away that a visit was very exotic. Now that we've been back in Utah almost 3 years, it's starting to be less exciting, except now it's summer, and they have a pool!

  4. This is a great, albeit indirect, love letter to your husband. We all need someone in our lives to be our foil - to make us see and do the things we otherwise wouldn't have. Looks like you have that in your husband. :)

  5. We did a surprise day long driving trip to Michigan from Houston when we were little...and now, I'm contemplating (in fact, just yesterday wrote about) driving to Houston from Atlanta.

    And, yours in the second post I've read today about driving. I think I'm getting the message!

  6. I am the same way (as you)! I talk to my mom maybe twice a month, if you don't count the occasional fb comment. I start missing being close to the family, especially when everyone else is together, for about half a second until I remember why I was so happy to move far away.

  7. What a great story, and so well told.

    I'm the opposite of you. I was always homesick as a kid and still am actually. I'm not a big crier, but I used to cry going back to school after a week of vacation. And I still cry whenever my parents leave after visiting.

    Pathetic, I know.

  8. Is this a hint that Peter has finally convinced you to come out to WA for a visit? I will get the guest room ready!

  9. I remember it well. It did make that year so awesome. And I hardly remember our family without Peter. And Tami, what were you thinking???

  10. i have come to believe that being with family during the holidays is WAY over rated.but sadly i can not escape the fact that my in-laws live a few minutes away.

    i second brendas request! you should come see how beautiful and green it is here...PLUS they have amazing neighbors.

  11. Oh I am suddenly wanting a trip to see my parents, badly. I can't believe you guys fit all that in your car!! What cute babies you have.

  12. I love that! I almost feel like I was there. I was getting all teary remembering about the time you all showed up and how excited we all were and the I thought, "Oh. I'm reading a blog." Anyway, that was a really great memory and well written.

  13. We try to only see my family on holidays... and not even on the actually holiday... because we like that day to be enjoyable.

    Basically I am saying you are far more saintly than I

  14. Love it.

    Once, when my husband was in grad school, his best friend was getting married in Utah (where we're both from). We decided to drive up for it, and didn't tell our families, except my dad at the last minute just in case.

    It was awesome. I wish we could do it again. Heck, now that we're like 35 hours away, maybe we will!

  15. aww! I loved this post. And I love that your husband went to Norway. I think I might have known that before, but with my memory, I can learn things over and over again, and it's just like the first time. I get to be all happy about it again, yay. Now you're wondering why I get happy about Norway. Er. Well. My hub. went to Denmark, and I have a Scandinavian fetish. There. It's all out in the open now.

  16. man, I think my parents wish I'd married a Peter... it's okay though - they drive out here to visit me at least once a year :)

    (*hanging my head shamefully and resolving to at least CALL soon*)

    (because let's be honest - the only time I go to visit is when my high school reunions come... every ten years)

    (and then 'duh - I'm hanging with old friends!)

    okay, okay - calling Mom tomorrow!

  17. I love the part where you put your kids on the porch and hid! Thats the cutest idea!

  18. That's kind of funny. My husband doesn't love going to see any family-mine or his!

    I love that you rang the doorbell and ran.

  19. You are truly sentimental at heart. I just KNOW it!

  20. Okay, am I your mini me?
    I went to collage at 17 and I liked going home but I was just fine being gone too.
    My kids don't suffer from seperation anxiety either.

    Love your story! Especially because my husband has NEVER asked to go see my family! :D

  21. I loved that Christmas and I have always love your hubby Peter. He really fit into our family and into our hearts. I am also glad you made that trip.

  22. OK, the matching PJs are just the BEST. A precursor to today's obsession with family Hanna Anderssons? I love stories of other people's families. Thanks for sharing your YES.

  23. Ha! My husband says "please please don't make me go there ever again!" Now we live 8 hours away from them & I don't think he's ever been happier!

  24. Loved this nice refreshing post! Thanks for a smile today!

  25. I love this flashback post! I wish we were closer to my mom (about two days away) and my dad (another two days away). Ironically, we live two houses down from Mr. V's mom and next door to his sister and rarely ever see'd think we'd be closest to them, having them right there, but oddly, no. Love the matching pajamas tradition! And that you were so determined to fit everything in the car!