So, when we last left off, we were all crammed into a car, with four kids under the age of 7 and 3 very tired adults. The Jedi had pooped his pants, and we had been driving for about 4 hours from Kansas City, Missouri to Greenville Illinois.
At this point, the kids (well, my kids anyway) had pretty much settled down in the back, and were doing pretty well. But The Roomie's poor sister was in the middle seat with her 2 year old and her 2 week old, trying as hard as she could to maintain her sanity and keep her kids entertained. She sang them songs, we listened to the radio, and she let all the kids play Angry Birds on her phone. What a saint. I don't think I've ever had 1/4 of the patience she showed on that long long drive.
Finally, at 10:30 that night, we rolled into Greenville and relief filled the van-or at least the hearts of every adult in that van. We were finally there. But, the first day of our trip was gone, and we'd spent it primarily in the car.
We came in, got hugs all around, introduced everyone to my very tired, very shy children, and put all the babies to bed. It had been a long day.
By the next morning when we woke up, The Jedi was being exceptionally crabby, cranky and difficult. Then, he peed his pants. Having accidents is pretty unusual for The Jedi, who has been potty trained for the last year, and at this point, with two accidents under his belt and a very bad attitude, I was getting concerned. When nap time rolled around, he asked to be put down for a nap. Now I know something is wrong. But what? He looked ok....maybe just tired? Maybe just the change of his environment? Maybe....but maybe not.
3 hours later, when he woke up from his nap, he woke up screaming. I mean, balling, screaming, crying his head off, and he had to pee. I took him to the bathroom, and realized his armpits were blazing hot. When he sat down on the potty and started going, he cried and said it hurt. Thats when I noticed how weird his pee smelled. He had a UTI, I just knew it. To be sure, I called Anne Marie, our naturopathic doctor and my preceptor, and she confirmed my suspicion. Lot's of Vitamin C, lots of water, bathroom breaks every half hour, cranberry juice, and baking soda mixed into his water or some ice cream to neutralize the acid in his urine. With any luck, we could get through this without antibiotics.
The next three days, from Friday to Sunday night were filled with a lot of sitting around with a sick, cranky and hurting baby, watching Harry Potter movies, reading, sleeping and keeping him hydrated. You'd think it'd be easy. Just drink this EmergenC all day, which he loves. Eat this ice cream with a tiny dash of baking soda in it. Nope! Any food or drink that you tell a child to eat or drink, even if it's their absolute favorite, you will be met with nothing but stubborn obstinance.
We couldn't go anywhere, and we couldn't do much with him because any physical activity would spike his fever up to 102 or higher, and he had to have constant access to a bathroom within 30 seconds of realizing he had to go. That pretty much rules out the fair in St. Louis, the zoo, hiking, nature walking, lake trips and anything else we had planned. For three days.
Finally by Monday he had turned the corner, and we were able to take him out for the 4th of July celebrations on the park nearby with the rest of The Roomie's family.
At the time, I wasn't much looking forward to going, to be honest. I am not crazy about 4th of July, and I think part of that is because it's my dad's favorite holiday, and he's always forced me to make a huge deal out of it, whether I wanted to or not, and if it didn't go the way he wanted it to, there was emotional hell to pay.
But, alas, there were about 10 other people who overruled me, and the kids wanted to go, so off we went. The park was something out of a movie. Some stereotypical, movie quality American 4th of July celebration. Admission was free, the park was beautiful, and we got a spot right on the edge of the lake, right across from where they shoot fireworks off the bank on the other side. The food was cheap, and delicious. About $10.00 to feed me, the kids and The Roomie. Not bad!
The kids got sparklers, and were so excited they were like horses twitching at the gate, waiting for fireworks. Finally it got dark. Everyone started cheering, and clapping, and they signaled the start of the show. We all lay down on our blanket, and there it was. Right over head, as close as I've ever been to fireworks, they started exploding in beautiful bursts of colorful light. They sparkled, and shimmered. They turned colors, from blue to green to red to gold. They made huge clouds of brilliant light, then faded into dust and smoke, leaving silhouettes of what they once were on the inky black night sky. The kids snuggled close, and I watched each explosion light up their faces. Halfway through the show, I hear Tiny sigh, and whisper, maybe only to herself "I am never going to forget this. I hope I never forget this."
And in that moment, all the flying, the driving, the pooped in pants, the peed on bedsheets, the fevers, the strange beds, the lack of privacy, all of it, was so inexplicably worth it.
I won't ever forget it either.