I'm taking my five-year old daughter, Leah, to Austin, TX, with me this week to visit my sister and her family. My sister, Lisa's been bugging me for four years to come and visit her--ever since she moved from Anchorage, Alaska--but for whatever reason, I never got it together enough to go. She's pointed it out to me on numerous occasions that I got it together enough to visit our brother in Seattle twice over the past few years, and she's come back to Utah several times to visit us, but I have failed in my sisterly duties to visit her.
Well, she can stop bellyaching. I'll be on that plane this week. It's not that I don't want to go to Texas. It's not that I don't want to spend time with her and her family. I truly do. It just happens to be twice as far as Seattle and not nearly as green and politically correct. I mean, our current president hails from there and that's a bit disturbing to me. I keep thinking of the year we lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, and how awful that was. And silly as it is, I sort of equate Texas with that experience. But Lisa tells me that Austin's different, that it has great music and restaurants. I think, so did N'awlins. She says there are tons of fun things to see and do in clap clap "deep in the heart of Texas," and so I'm going to rid myself of my Texasaphobia, have an open mind, and head on down the the Lone Star State. Yee-haw!
Besides that, Utah has been BLOODY cold and snowy for the past two months, and my sister tells me it's 85 degrees down there. I would really like to be warm for the first time since last October. I've consumed more hot chocolate this year that any other year on record, I'm sure. I complain insessantly about the temperature in the house and turn up the thermostat when my husband isn't looking. I mean, really, he wants to keep it at 64 at night. How insane is that? So it would be nice to be warm for a few days. Warm sounds very nice right now.
It's not very easy to leave three kids behind and just take one. I'm been hearing about it every day since I booked the ticket about two months ago. I thought I'd make it easy on everyone and take the kid whose the hardest to take care of and the one who would miss me the most if I left her home. That was a no-brainer. That's the five-year old who only has 2.75 hours of school a day, and wants us to play with her for six hours straight when she gets home. She's the one who calls me every five minutes on my cell phone to ask me when I'll be home, and the one who cries if I'm not in her radar. OK, I will make life easy for everyone and take her with me. She was thrilled. My 12-year old, Samantha, was not thrilled.
My sisters's son, Nicholas, is exactly Samantha's age. They're weeks apart, literally. To Samantha, it was a major slap in the face not to take her. I explained to her she'd have to do hours of homework when she got back. I explained to her that she got to go to Alaska with me when the other kids didn't. I explained to her that we'd help her pay for a trip to Texas in the summer when she was on vacation. But then she pointed out to the the same thing I've been telling my sister when she asks why we don't come down in the summer----IT'S TOO HOT!!! Hot enough to fry an egg on the cement. UGH! I can't win.
So, y'all, I've got a lot to do to get ready to go. Make sure there are groceries in the house, make sure the laundry's all done (well, for as long as it can stay done, oh, about three minutes) write out a schedule for my husband to follow and hope that I haven't forgotten something major like my daughter's lifeguarding class that she has to be to every night while I'm gone. Did I pay the piano teacher and the swim team? Did I make those dentist appointments, did I find some new sandals to take down there, have I got enough stuff to keep Leah happy on the plane?
What it comes down to is this is my sister. And I get to go visit her. And if she lived in Timbuktu, I'd still go visit her.