Michael and I slept for 10 1/2 hours last night. My kids slept for 13 hours. THIRTEEN HOURS! And let me tell ya, we needed every minute.
Here’s the story.
Thursday morning, Christmas Eve, it started to snow. In Texas, this is (as Michael would say) not insignificant. We haven’t had a White Christmas in Texas since 1920-something. But seeing as it was 75 degrees the day before, the snow didn’t stick. It was snowing pretty hard, but it melted as it hit the ground. As the day went on, the temperature dropped, and the snow stuck.
Our Christmas traditions include going over to my parents’ house on Christmas Eve. My mother called before we left to make sure we knew the weather was a little bit bad. I wasn’t worried, and we drove over there after lunch with no problems.
At this point in the story, I need to make you aware of two important facts that will become significant later in my tale.
- My parents live approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes from our house.
- We had to take two cars because Michael is on-call this weekend, so if he were called into the hospital, he would need his own car to get there, and the kids and I would need another car in order to get home.
Okay. So we’ve clarified that.
Christmas Eve with my family is a BLAST. We have just enough crazy and obnoxious to have a really good time without anyone getting mad or upset. This year was even more fun because the World’s Cutest Nephew is now 15 months old and a big ol’ ball of adorableness.
My mom insisted on a rousing game of Christmas Charades – which we all balked at, but
we everyone but those of us who would later be driving threw back another glass of wine and decided to humor her. And it was double-over, tears streaming down your face, rip-roarin’, slap yo’ mama FUN!
Per tradition, we ate dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, ate dessert, and then proceeded to open presents. When I was a little girl and we went to my dad’s parents’ house for Christmas Eve, the cleaning up and coffee/dessert time seemed to take a sweet forever. I swear the adults just wanted to torture us and dragged it out for as long as possible.
Now that I am an adult with small children waiting not-so-patiently to open presents after dinner, I realize that I was right. Torturing them is fun.
By the time all the presents were opened, the clock was inching towards 10:00 p.m. – a little later than we’d hoped, but not unexpected.
At this point in the story, remember the two important facts listed above.
So we load up our two separate cars and begin the 1 hour 10 minute trek home.
I think it would behoove me to stop right here and acknowledge that Michael’s mom reads my blog, and that I know she worries about us more than she should, and that I did have a nanosecond’s worth of hesitation before relaying the following events. But let us also acknowledge that we are home, we are 100% safe, and that all is well and worrying about this event two days later really will do no one any good.
Heh-heh-heh. Gotcher attention, didn’t I?
So we’re driving home. The temperature had dropped significantly, and the roads leading out of my parents’ neighborhood were pretty icy. No problem, we thought. They’re backroads. Surely the interstate will be better.
We noticed, however, that as we approached the interstate, there were lots of flashing lights on the overpass. Hmmm.
We got on the interstate, and there were more flashing lights ahead of us. Lots of flashing lights. Lots of ice. A little more of a problem.
We couldn’t drive faster than 30-40 mph, but thankfully (most) of the cars around us were driving just as slowly and keeping a careful distance between themselves and the other cars.
We drove for half an hour or so – Michael was behind me in his car – when I looked back and noticed that he wasn’t behind me. A minute later, he called me.
(Here’s where you need to take a deep breath, Sara, and remember that we’re okay.)
He was not behind me. He was in the grass on the side of the freeway. He had hit a patch of ice, swerved towards the guard rail, turned the other way, overcompensated, slid across three lanes and into the grass, thankfully missing all the other cars and the overpass pylons. The car was fine, he was fine, but he was stuck. His wheels were spinning in the wet, muddy grass, but already a guy with a big Texas-sized truck and a big chain was there to tow him out.
(Here’s where I could bust out some vintage Amy Grant and sing “Angels Watchin’ Over Me.”)
He tried to convince me to keep going, but I took the next exit, drove back the opposite direction, got back on the freeway, and drove until I found him. There he was, with the off-duty police officer with the big truck and the big chain – who had just pulled out a second car that had spun out in the same place that Michael did.
I did what any loving, concerned, relieved wife and mother and keeper of family history would do. I took a picture.
We got back to our
ice skating driving – veeerrrrryyyy slloooowwwwwlllyyyy – and at midnight, the traffic stopped. Completely. As in not moving. At all. In fact, cars were driving backwards to get off of the interstate and on to an alternate road.
Crazy people driving backwards. I would never do that.
I just jumped a curb.
Here is where I was EXTREMELY thankful that I did not leave Michael in the grass and keep driving because we had decided through a series of phone calls to take an alternate route, and I had no clue where we were going. Michael is much less directionally challenged than his adoring wife, which is why the GPS stays in my car.
Two hours later (two hours!) we approached the exit to our home. Griffin had finally passed out in the back seat, but Meghan and Nathan were wide awake and watching their second movie. And I noticed again that Michael was not behind me. I called him. He didn’t answer. I called him again. He still didn’t answer.
(Here’s where I could start singing “I simply say, BAAAAABY, my sweet BAAAAABY, oh my BAAAAAABY, you’re the one! der-der-der-derrrr-dah-dah-dah”)
(I guess that would only be funny to anyone who knows 1960s music or who had the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing or remembered Patrick Swayze crawling across the floor to Baby during their dance lesson.)
He called me back as we were exiting and explained that he didn’t answer his phone because the hospital had called him. Some crazy girl was swinging a belt around and hit her little brother in the eye.
(I hope Santa skipped her house.)
But he was able to put off seeing him until the morning, so we kept driving.
We finally FINALLY reached our house at 1:45 a.m…but we couldn’t get in the house until 1:50 because I couldn’t get up the driveway. Too icy.
Are you freakin’ kiddin’ me?
Michael threw on his superhero cape and grabbed some cardboard boxes out of the garage. Got in. Carried the kids up to bed. High-fived Santa as he came through the chimney. Collapsed into bed. So. Tired.
Our kids mercifully waited until 9:00 to wake us up. Opened presents. Ate breakfast. Went back to bed. Michael went to the hospital to see Belt Boy. My parents came over. So. Tired.
The kids were tucked in bed by 7:45. We were in bed by 9:30.
Which is how we got 10 1/2 hours of sleep.
And all is well.