I’m writing from a bleak hotel in Omaha, Nebraska. I had to give our plate numbers at check in. I’m trying to think of it as super posh camping. Yes, I’m wearing flip flops in the shower and on the carpet, but at least someone else put linens on the bed. I think we’ll try to find a better balance between budget and bleak tomorrow night.
Last night we slept in a king sized bed, with tiny Leo in between us. As the older children fell asleep, Caleb drew and I typed with Leo’s hands stretched between us, one hand on each of our spare elbows, pinching the extra skin. Sleeping seven in one room lends itself to lovely little irritating moments like that.
I also found Leo climbing into bed with Moses, and conspiratorially whispering, “Bo-ses, BO-ses!” It is kind of sweet to have them all in one room with us. But we are also mad at them for all kinds of things, for example…actually, right now I can’t think of anything that horrifying. Oh, yes I can: crying at inconvenient times. That has to stop.
After a weepy fit of crying over wearing new pajamas, I asked my tender young lady to call the front desk for extra blankets. I thought it could be a teaching experience. She was horrified and passed the phone to me to avoid passing out herself.
Additionally Gus ended up riding down in an elevator with strangers. I watched the door close and his face fill with conflicted horror-he wanted to stay cool, but he also wanted his mom.
I’m glad they still want their mom. We have been saying again and again—Bea is just young enough that her heart is still at home with us. But she’s growing up.
At the St. Louis Zoo today we saw a polar bear, and Beatrice said to me, “She reminds you of Bess, doesn’t she?” Sob. Yes. Thanks you for seeing my heart, Beatrice.
When we left the zoo, hot and tired, we planned to do more things in St. Louis. But Caleb grinned at me and said, “Let’s just go!” So we just started driving, and it felt great to get on the road again—the freedom to just go feels so great. We made it to Kansas City, and kept going. Just north of Kansas City we came to St. Joseph, MO, the furthest west any of us have ever been.
The road opened up into a wide plain with a railroad on our right, and the Missouri on our left. For the first time in my life, I could see for absolutely miles in every direction and as the road took a gentle turn to the west, we passed into new territory—the furthest west we have ever been. Everything feels like a new adventure from here. This hotel room not included.