“Are we ready to go?” My husband looks at me with excitement. In most other ways he’s a grown man full of reasoning and intelligence, but his eyes are round and child-like. It’s one of my favorite features of his.
We both have our Snowshoe, West Virginia hoodies on and beanies hugging our heads. Our SUV is packed for our bi-monthly three-day trip to our ski house, tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains. It will be a weekend of fun in fresh powder.
Socks, coats, kids, and dogs are spilling out of the car’s various doors. We are as close to machine-like as possible with our packing; we are so good at preparing and getting there. Of course … there are always hiccups. That’s life.
“We’re ready.” I nod.
I give him a quick kiss on the cheek, and I notice the stubble accumulating. One day without shaving for his job as an attorney and his facial hair is already taking over.
I climb in the passenger side and Justin takes the wheel. Once seated and buckled, I turn to check on both girls, who are also buckled safely with smiles anchoring their faces to the backseat.
“You excited, Reagan?” I say, but my seven-year-old with blond, bouncing waves and freckles dotting her cheeks like confetti is humming along to Taylor Swift on her hot pink iPod. It’s loud enough for me to hear. I tap her leg.
She lifts her headphones off her ear. “Yeah, Ma?”
“Sure.” She looks down, then back to my face with alarm. “I forgot Pinky Lou in the house!” Pinky Lou is her favorite stuffed panda bear that only leaves her side on rare occasions.
“I’ll go get her,” I say and reassure her with a smile. “Can I have the keys?” I ask Justin, who is setting up the navigation. He hands them to me without looking up.
I climb out of the SUV and unlock the door. Inside, I find Pinky Lou on the counter, legs up, and looking pitifully alone. I laugh to myself, grab her and run back outside.
Inside the car, I toss the stuffed bear into Reagan’s lap and re-buckle.
“Thanks, Mom.” She smiles.
I look at my almost-three-year-old. Straight wisps of brown hair frame her round face. “How about you, Ashlyn? Are you excited?”
She nods at me and runs her fingers along the soft fleece of her Frozen blanket because she is always finding fun. If she doesn’t have a toy close by, she plays with whatever she can get her chubby fingers on. “I need a snack, Momma.”
“Sure. What would you like?”
“You got it.” I look at Justin, scrolling through his Spotify playlists. “Where are the snacks?” I ask.
He looks over and grimaces. “In the very back of the trunk.”
“Well, that’s a terrible place for them.” I roll my eyes. “Hang on, Ashlyn. Mommy is getting you a snack.” I unbuckle my seatbelt for the third time.
“Don’t stress,” Justin says while plugging his phone into the USB. “I’m excited to get there too, but we’ll get there soon enough.”
Photo courtesy of Pixabay