While the train snaked its way around the bay and headed into the foothills about
an hour away from Emeryville,
Jack had the nerve to say, "I'm ready to get off now."
This did not bode well for the coming 31 hours of train travel.
I won't go into the entire 32 hour journey of a lifetime but let's just
say the flu went on to strike Scott down with a fever and chills,
keeping him seat bound and Addie and Will continued to spike fevers
throughout the trip.
At one point when Scott was rendered incapacitated by aches and pains,
in all of my grace and understanding, I may have asked him,
"So your off duty now?" staring with no compassion whatsoever
into his fever bright eyes.
Obviously, I am no angel of mercy.
At my accusation, he rallied to take the boys to the cafe car to
play a game of Chutes and Ladders.
I passed out shot glasses of Advil like it was lemonade.
Early Christmas morning, say around 3, the train food started to disagree with Jack,
and I awoke to a gagging sound.
I was immediately alert as Jack and I made our way down to the airplane
sized bathrooms where Jack was sick. Yep. Merry Christmas.
This continued on through the wee morning hours,
with Scott and I trying to catch snippets of sleep in our semi-reclining train seats in between upchucking episodes.
The highlight was when Jack didn't make it to the bathroom, losing it
in front of a luggage rack with Addison standing at the top of the small stairwell
sobbing since he wet through his pull-up onto his seat mid-sleep.
He was distraught that I was leaving to tend to nauseous Jack before changing him.
Scott took over clean-up and while I changed Addison and tried to keep him from waking our traveling neighbors.
(Shout out to Scott! You are the best barf cleaner upper ever!)
I believe it was when Jack spilled his gatorade all over his travel blanket that
my true colors came out and I remarked,
"This is the worst Christmas ever." I am a harbinger of joy in tough situations.
Needless to say, a bit of the Christmas magic was lost in the midst of sickness but
St. Nick still found his way to the stockings tucked into the train seats and red wrapped presents peeked out from underneath foot rests.
The opening of gifts and the joy that settled onto fevered faces restored a little of the Advent spirit as we wound our way through a snow covered country.
Life was never so joyous as the moment we pulled into to Denver station,
loaded our 13 bags (I'm not kidding) into the van and headed to my parents house.
We were welcomed by Christmas lights and snow topped trees and hot tea and sandwiches and warm beds and love.
Praise the sweet Lord. Christmas had finally arrived.
We are putting the train behind us.....
At least until next Sunday when we have to ride it back to California.
Start the prayers now.