The Trip HomeThe final night we gathered in the courtyard for a skit and to give our final thoughts on our week. I ended up volunteering to go first because I felt like I was getting sick. I shared my answers to the three questions we were given earlier for Desert Day (see Day 7). Yes, I cried through my answers. Then my youngest gave me her paper and asked me to read her answers for her which in turn gave the other kids an idea! Except for our oldest, he gave his answers himself. I was very proud of how much they seemed to have grown this week. I was able to sit through my husband's sharing and a few others before my stomach began to rumble and rumble!
I remained in the bathroom hugging the toilet for the majority of the evening. I don't think that I had ever vomited so much at one time in my life. I couldn't imagine riding in a car the next day for 18+ hours, but I was glad it was me and not one of the kids or my husband. I prayed and puked for hours. Our oldest came in several times to check on me and see if I needed anything. He was very worried after all the stories he had overheard people tell us about getting sick in Mexico.
Once the sharing ended and my husband came to see about me, he immediately went back downstairs for help. He brought back a nurse that was on the trip with us. He had brought one of the teens to the hospital earlier in the week for vomiting and dehydrating. The doctor had given him an extra vile of medicine. I agreed to let him give me a shot. I didn't even ask what it was! I was miserable! I finally quit throwing up at some point during the night and prayed that no one else would get it before we got home.
The next morning I woke up feeling better, but not great. My husband and the boys loaded up our car as the girls cleaned up our room. Then we all said our good-byes and loaded up. It was one of the hardest places to leave. It's funny how these people, this town had snuck into my heart and had become such a huge part of my soul in just nine short days. I was sick to my stomach, but it wasn't the same as the night before. I also felt as if I had this huge hole in my heart. I felt like I did when I drove away from my mom and dad's that first time after getting married.
We hit the road and didn't stop until we were almost at the border. We stopped for a bathroom break and to exchange passports. Everyone was swapped around in various vehicles because one of the suburban's AC had gone out while we were in General Cepeda. There wasn't anyone in the town who could fix it, so some of the forty-two "rockstars" on our trip volunteered to ride without AC. Isaac was one of the first ones to volunteer to ride in that vehicle. Whether it was just to get away from his "embarrassing" parents for awhile or get away from his "annoying" sisters, I was still proud of him.
We arrived at the border and crossed back with little to no trouble at all. (FYI: It is harder to get back in to the US then it was to get out. The inspections were much more thorough!) We stopped for lunch after crossing and praised God for a smooth crossing. I still wasn't feeling well and couldn't decide if it was the sadness or the stomach bug, so I opted for a Gatorade.
The rest of the journey was uneventful except for all the laughing and singing in the backseat! We had three giggling little girls and two giggly teenagers! We played all kinds of games over the walkie-talkies with the other cars. Of course, we won them all! (And I'm ready next time for the Saint's ABC game! I've found a "Y" saint!) All was well until we reached Houston at about 10 pm.
One missionary needed to be dropped off in Houston at one location, and someone had to return the rental van to another location. We split into two different groups when traffic got so bad that some of us missed an exit. We decided to all meet at the rental van place. We got separated from our group when we tried to On Star the rental place and took a wrong turn. We ended up at the wrong rental place. We were at the one south of Houston and everyone else was at the one north of Houston. So back to I-610 we went laughing as we passed the same hospital with the giant neon cross on the front for the third (or fourth) time.
We eventually decided to just head East and meet up at Denny's for a midnight snack which was actually supper! As all the other vehicles arrived, we realized that we had all passed the giant neon cross many times that night. We had all just spent over two hours circling Houston. I'm pretty sure we were all delirious because no one seemed upset about it even though we were all anxious to get back home and shower!!
It was great to sit down and have one last meal together anyway. Our laughter continued to grow as the waitress began bringing one meal out at a time, sometimes bring several dishes that didn't belong to anyone sometimes bringing out a meal to someone that had already been one of the first ones to eat. We spent just as much time in that Denny's as we did circling Houston. Finally, we all climbed back into our correct vehicles for the last stretch home. The kids slept, and I tried to keep Travis awake.
We finally arrived home about 2:30 am completely exhausted and opened our door to the most wonderful surprise. Our awesome friends had hung a huge welcome sign and left fresh flowers on our table, cleaned our house, mopped the floors, and left a casserole in the fridge with baking instructions attached for the next day. (Later, we found a weeded garden too!)
It was then that I remembered how blessed I was to have such kind, loving, and giving friends in my life back home. This wonderful gesture of friendship refilled that spot in my heart that felt so empty the previous morning when I had to leave a part of it behind in General Cepeda.