I have heard stories of it happening to other families, but it never had to us. It finally happened. We were on our way back from a trip to LA and 2/3 of the boys were dressed in Star Wars costumes (one was required for an audition; one was dressed in solidarity with his brother), yet the force was not strong enough for this. What happened was what nightmares are made of and we thankfully lived to talk about it. I will tell you the tale, I promise, but prepare yourself and please choose wisely when it comes to eating while reading.
We drive to LA fairly regularly for auditions for the boys, primarily because I am a glutton for punishment. It’s a pain in the A from a logistics standpoint (Do I bring all 473 of my kids with me? Do I ask Danny the Nanny to watch the ones who are not auditioning? Although I hear babysitting is good for his mental health…it’s science, read about it here.) And then there are the issues of homework, adhering to reasonable weeknight bedtimes, and do we stay up there for dinner in order to miss rush hour traffic. Cheesecake Factory, I love you and your Skinnylicious menu, but DAMN. Enough is enough, sometimes. The struggle of a Stage Mom can be real, ok?
So back to a week ago. Our drive up was uneventful and we made pretty good time. The audition itself went smoothly, the peanut gallery (aka brother mob that had to attend) were well-behaved while we waited, and we even stopped for a quick treat at Starbucks for the ride home. Now would be a good time to cue Cher’s If I Could Turn Back Time…
I hit the road for home and it took some time to get to the freeway, but that was not unusual thanks to my GPS re-routing us and looking for the best option. We finally get to a freeway and we cruise along for a bit until we hit a wall of traffic. I knew we still had about an hour to go because my BFF Waze was telling me so, when I hear a sad whimper in the back seat followed by the unmistakable sound of what could only be Starbucks chocolate milk with whipped cream coming back out the way it came in.
Yep, puke. Puke, in a car that was sitting idle in what felt like a parking lot. Puke in a car filled with ALL my kids, their backpacks and a violin case (that thankfully made it out unscathed) and yet NOT one change of clothes, wet knap, or towel of any kind in sight. I thankfully had an empty Halloween costume bag to hand the puker in case of any additional episodes, rolled down all the windows and told everyone we were going to be brave as we soldier on toward home. As luck would have it, it was not a terribly cold evening so driving with the windows down was not completely awful, but the smell was horrific and the youngest opted to wear his Storm Trooper mask for the entire remaining 58 minute drive home.
We survived and I have never been more thankful to see my washing machine and dryer, or the local mobile car wash company the following day. But the reality is that we were all a little scarred and long car rides are inevitable for our family unless we win the lottery and are able to travel by helicopter or chartered plane for any future trips. Fingers crossed Puke Skywalker / Barf Tater grows out of this.