Know when to fold ’em

Every July, our dear friends from church invite a group to their cabin in the mountains for fishing and a barbecue.  This year, the date was set in May, and with 4 week old twins, I was promising nothing, but really hoping we’d be able to go.  As the twins passed the 3 month mark and the end of July loomed, I decided, “We can do it!  It’ll be fun!  We are going!”  I was sure of our success (and that we would even have fun) until Eric needed hernia surgery, scheduled 3 days before the planned trip.

“Are you sure you’ll still be able to go?  You will have just had surgery!”

Being a young healthy man who has never had surgery, he responded, “I’ll be fine!  They said it’s an easy surgery!”


As the day for our trip dawned, Eric limped around the house helping pack the car.

“Are you sure you’re ok?”

“I’ll be fine!  I’ll just rest in the car.”


It took us an hour and a half to pack the car…stroller, fishing equipment, diaper bag, snacks, jackets, hats, sunscreen, all the while juggling crying twins and needy big boys.  By the time we piled into the stuffed car an hour later than we planned to leave, we were already grumpy, exhausted and exasperated with everyone.

Since Eric was on pain medication and not feeling well, I drove.  I looked at him in the passenger seat, eyes closed and looking pale.  “Are you sure you’re ok?”

“I don’t feel well, but I just need to rest a bit.”


We got on the highway, and I felt pretty proud of myself as I sipped my McDonald’s Mocha Frappe (for driver’s energy!).  Look at us, got everyone in the car for our trip.  It was stressful, but we did it, and here we are on our way to the mountains!

15 minutes into the trip, Stephen and Adrian: “Are we there yet?  We’re bored!  We’re hungry!  We go mountains?  Are we there yet?  How much longer?”

30 minutes into the trip, Babies:  “WAAAAAAHHH!!!  AHHHHHH!!!   WAAAAAAAH WAAAAAH WAAAAAHWAHWAHWAHWAHWAHWAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

After trying fruitlessly to calm the screaming babies on the highway, I pulled over at a gas station in Woodland Park (45 minutes from home, 45 minutes from our destination) to nurse.

By this point, Eric’s whiteness had turned a pale shade of green.

“Um…are you feeling ok?”

“No, I feel like I’m going to puke.”

“Oh.”…I nursed Reid, squished behind the steering wheel, while Will continued to scream in his car seat.  Then, from the back, Adrian:  “Mommy!  I haffa go potty!”

“Eric?  Do you think you can take him?  I’m a little busy right now…”

“Ugh.  Ooof.  Argh.  Come on, Adrian!”  Eric eased himself out of his seat.  Adrian climbed over piles of stuff to reach the door and they went off to the bathroom.

I finished nursing Reid, buckled him back in (where he resumed screaming his head off), and extracted Will.  I was nursing Will when Eric and Adrian returned.  Eric looked awful.  He collapsed in the passenger seat.

Stephen and Adrian: “Can we have a snack?  We’re bored!  Are we there yet?  Mommy?  Mommy?  When will we be there?  We’re hung–eee!  We hung—eeee!”


Me: “Eric, do you still feel ok to go?  Should we just go home?”

Eric closed his eyes, his skin green, and said, “Whatever you want, dear.”

I considered the situation.  I am NOT a quitter.  I always accomplish whatever task I set out to do.  I persevere, I do what it takes to get the job done.  BUT, as I listened to the babies screaming, the big boys whining, and looked at my ailing husband, I thought about what was still to come.  At least 45 minutes in the car, followed by unloading equipment, helping the big boys fish, pushing the babies around in their stroller, nursing, changing diapers in the woods, my complete exhaustion (clearly the wounded Daddy would be little help through all of this), THEN getting everyone/thing back in the car again for an hour and a half drive home, when they would surely be tired and fussy from running around and missed naps and past bedtime…..I made the call.

“We’re going home!”  I pulled out of the gas station and got back on the highway, going right back the way we’d come.  The babies screamed for most of the 45 minutes home.  Eric barely moved.  The boys ate their snacks and asked, confused, “No mountains?  Where mountains?”

When we finally returned home, we all went to bed, exhausted from our long morning of attempted fun.  We didn’t even have the energy to unpack the van until the next day.

Now that the twins are 6 months old, I DO NOT think we could (happily) take such a day trip, even with a healthy daddy.  But at least now I’m smart enough to know that and not even try.  Maybe next year we’ll go to the mountains….or in 5 years…


About jennyvogan

Author of "Stephen's Mom," a blog documenting the funny, crazy life of raising four boys while keeping my day job as an ultrasound tech.
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4 Responses to Know when to fold ’em

  1. raineality says:

    Oh my! Well, I commend you for trying, but yeah… 3 days after surgery might have been a bit much.

  2. Oh so much to look forward to! Loved reading this, as type A as I am I will need reminders when the twins get here that not everything is always going to be possible!

    • jennyvogan says:

      Thanks! yeah, it’s been a tough lesson to learn…still learning…and frustrating! Things are not under your control when you have so many little ones, no matter how much you put your mind to it!

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