It is hard to live so far away from my parents. I miss them. I wish we lived closer. When I go to visit them, it is a five- to six-hour drive diagonally across Pennsylvania. I wish it didn’t take so long. I’ve never wished that harder than this weekend, driving home.
Just a half-hour into a five-hour ride, and my daughter, who had an unfortunate stomach bug that seems to be going around the area, projectile vomited all over the truck. In true Linda Blair-style, she was just a head rotation away from us calling a young and an old priest.
She hadn’t eaten much all day, but somehow, for someone so small, with so little of an appetite, she had a lot to get up. It all happened in what seemed like slow motion to me. I heard a gag. I whirled my head around, and watched in pure horror as she repeatedly tossed her cookies. She seemed to aim center-car, spewing onto coats, my purse, my work bag, the blankets … anything within striking distance.
My driving husband slowed to the nearest shoulder and pulled over, throwing on the hazard lights. The smell was already too much to bear.
He threw open the back hatch and grabbed a pair of pajamas from the previous night out of her bag. He stripped, in the bitter cold wind, a screaming 4-year-old and put her into clean clothes.
Something real fun about our ride to see my parents, what makes it so thrilling each and every time, is that you are mostly driving though the middle of no where. We had to track back a few miles to the last “town” with a grocery store. I held a bawling baby girl, while he dashed in for supplies.
I used baby wipes to scrub her down: hair, face, hands… it was just everywhere. Meanwhile, my husband dumped out the cars seat, scrubbing it with upholstery wipes. It was pooled in the cup holders. It was soaked into the carpet.
He filled trash bags with most any belongings that would fit. We didn’t want to smell THAT smell the entire ride that still remained.
After scrubbing what he could, my husband proceeded to Febreze anything left in the vehicle. (God bless you, oh makers of Extra Strength Febreze.) If my son hadn’t moved, he’d have been hosed down along with the seats.
I should note that on my list of bodily fluids that I cannot handle cleaning up (yes, they are all on there), puke is second only to blood. Instead of passing out, I’m generally inclined to join the puking. It makes me super sick to my own stomach, and I’m glad that some fresh air and a screaming child kept me semi-distracted or she wouldn’t have been alone in losing her lunch.
One scrub down later, and we were back on the road. We hadn’t gotten up the same hill we’d turned around on when toss number two came. This time, as soon as I heard the gag, I jumped into action with a plastic bag. It all thankfully landed in said bag, and was promptly tossed out the window. (Yes, for the first time in my life I littered. And, I apologize Crying Indian, but there was no way this Montco Mommy was holding a bag of vomit until the nearest rest stop.)
Three bags-out-the-window later and we were safely home, with one very sick and tired little girl and a not-so-fresh truck.
Someday, we will look back on all of this and laugh hysterically. My daughter probably won’t recall it at all. For the three others of us, I doubt we’ll be able to drive through Ridgeway again without remembering.