The trip to Virginia Beach was the first vacation that I took as an adult with kids. I probably shouldn’t have gone. I was probably only invited as a nice gesture, but I took the opportunity and ran with it. I was invited by my mom who was going on the trip with Luke and his future wife Emily. I think that they seriously thought that I wouldn’t go. Paul couldn’t take a week off of work as he was a one man show back when his business was in its infancy. People thought that I was crazy for going because I decided to go with a newly turned two year old and a newborn. We loaded up a rental van and headed across the country on an over 2,000 mile round trip road trip.
We didn’t make any reservations in advance, we just looked at a map and drove as far as we could in a day. Our goal was to see the ocean. The trip in and of itself was pretty uneventful until we got closer to the ocean. What I really liked was that we decided to eat at a restaurant at the top of a hill in West Virginia. It was a winding drive to get to the top of the hill. It was exciting because WI is pretty flat. Another thing I noticed, in WI we have about 2 bars for every church. Bar, bar, Lutheran church. Bar, bar, Catholic church. But when we went to WV it was church, church, church, church, and bar that was shut down. What different cultures depending on where you are in our big country.
When we were almost to the ocean, I think we were touring a fort or something when I ended up feeling sick. I laid down on the grass while everyone took the tour. The long body jostling miles 2 months after having a C-section, the sleepless nights of being up with a newborn, and keeping up with an energetic 2 year old finally took its toll on me. The day we planned to go to the ocean, I ended up in the ER. I had a foreign doctor with a southern accent that I needed a nurse translator to understand. He wanted to hospitalize me. I got hooked up to an IV and they put a catheter in me. He wanted me to go on some heavy duty antibiotics that I would have to stop nursing my baby with. I refused. I told him that I only had a bladder infection and that being hundreds of miles from home that I couldn’t just stop nursing as I had in no way prepared to buy bottles and sanitize them on the road. Plus we were going to see the ocean TODAY! I got some regular antibiotics and we were on our way.
We finally got to the ocean in the afternoon. The doctor said that I could not swim so I walked in the ocean for the first time up to my knees. I remember hearing a mother screaming up and down the beach because she lost her child and was afraid he might have drowned. Someone was kind and offered me their canopy when they were leaving as I didn’t have an umbrella to protect my baby from the sun. We stayed at the beach for 2 hours and then had to leave to meet up with a friend of mine. So our long trip to the ocean was again cut very short because of me.
The next day we did some touring of the area. I remember going to tour a president’s plantation house in the afternoon. We got there right before the last tour of the day. My mom and I were going to take turns with the kids. We planned to go on separate tours but since it was the last tour of the day we couldn’t do that. Once the tour group of about 20 people got inside, they locked us in. With a 2 year old and a newborn this incited some terror within me. Sure enough while the tour guide was explaining about the original antique rug that we were standing on, my son spit up all over it. My 2 year old had a tantrum at the end of the tour. It was great being locked in while she was screaming and crying. Oh, and the dirty looks. I can laugh now because I will never have to go through that again. Phew. On the way out, we walked through a pet cemetery. I guess that really was a thing.
After that we drove through the night to get back home. I crossed going to the ocean with little kids off my bucket list. What a trip!