We are 11 hours into our 15 hour drive from Baton Rouge to Raleigh and I must say that traveling with 3 kids, 2 dogs and a cat are about as much fun as having dental work done! Seriously, the kids have been real troopers and the cat has slept but the two dogs are less than thrilled to be trapped in the car for this extended period of time.
As hard as the trip has been, it pales in comparison to the last twenty four hours of goodbyes. Last night we had dinner with two families from our street at our favorite little Greek/Lebanese restaurant. I'm sure the wait staff is still hearing little people giggles and cleaning up Brea's gold fish crackers and rice from the floor...our party consisted of 7 kids and 6 adults! It was hard to watch Baker say goodbye to his little friend Briggs and even harder to watch Brooke go home with her friend Hayden for thier last sleepover. The kids have never had best friends that lived across the street that they got to see everyday like they did these kids. This morning when Hayden's stepdad dropped Brooke off at our hotel he said that Hayden was having a rough time and I was surprised to see that my little Brookie was holding it together as well as she was but that was short lived. As soon as Dirk was out of sight the tears began to flow.
We've always been blessed with wonderful neighbors and good friends but saying goodbye to our friends, church and neighbors in Baton Rouge has been more difficult than any of our other moves. I guess it is because they have been there for us during the toughest year of our lives. They were there at the hospital with us when Brea was airlifted to Little Rock and they were there with Brooke when she had her surgery and Danny and I couldn't be there. They have cared for our kids, our pets, our home and taken Danny in for dinner when I was in Little Rock and Brooke and Baker were in Northwest Arkansas and our empty house was just too hard to be in alone. They have provided meals upon our return home from Little Rock, picked up the dry cleaning and taken care of the kids when I had to take Brea back to Little Rock for appointments. Most importantly, they supported us with thier love and prayers when there was nothing else that they could do. Yes, we have been blessed beyond measure with loving friends, neighbors and a church family and we are going to miss them dearly. Their love and kindness will NEVER be forgotten.
We did get some great news today...I called to inform the insurance company of our new address and learned that our car insurance was dropping from $800 every six months to $350 every six months! We learned earlier this week that our home owners insurance was going from $2,200 a year in Louisiana to just $650 a year in North Carolina. It seems that a lot of folks in Louisiana just don't carry car insurance which drives the rates up for those of us who do and thanks to Katrina and Rita...home owners insurance rates are outrageous. We certainly won't miss paying those crazy rates!
It is getting late and the kids are starting to get cranky (and so are the adults). Afterall, a person can take only so much of Dora the Explorer. Tomorrow is a new day and the moving truck is meeting us bright and early to start the unloading and soon this LONG trip to Carolina will be a distant memory but until that happens, I'll just keep reminding myself that things could always be worse...I could still be sitting in Little Rock waiting on a heart for our little princess. Thank you God for all that you've blessed us with...kids, cats, dogs and even Dora!