The Easter Trip has begun, and after a day of driving, I have to just thank whoever is in charge of making this thing purr along (I can’t help but think St. Anthony’s got a hand in this!). Except for a brief stint last summer, I haven’t spent much time in the South. So here I am, in a hotel in Alabama (where I’ve never been before), after a meal that filled me up and gave me some of the best service I’ve had in quite a while. I’ve had a dose of sweet tea, Southern-style, and a not-so-bad-as-I-expected day in the backseat with the Toddler Passenger Who Usually Hails From Hades. (One word: markers (washable, of course).)

Tomorrow sometime (maybe early afternoon, but I need to do some mapping on the ‘puter to see just how that’s going to work) we’ll arrive in the New Orleans suburb, braced for the sister-in-law and nieces who have been counting hours for the last three days (and calling every so many hours just to make sure all’s well). For me, this is a trip filled with firsts. It will be my first long trip to the South and my first time in quite a few states, not to mention my first trip solo (sans Hubby) with the Small Fry (though I do have the Secret Weapon Nanny and Poppa Team) and my first time to my sister-in-law’s house. When said sister-in-law comes north, as she did for fair time last year, we never have a chance to curl our hands around mugs of steaming drinks and really talk, but this time, I totally plan to abandon my usual 20-hours-a-day sleeping regime and bask in her company (oh yes, and that of the darling nieces who dub me “the Bestest” and that brother-in-law who hides in the background (as he should at my house – it’s a scary place!)).

So this hotel room, where I’m sharing a bed with a small friend who’s half is coming right out of the middle (and who looks so peaceful I’m not going to be able to keep my hands off my camera for much longer), is a sort of reflection grounds for me, a place to really nurse the excitement that’s been buried under first trimester exhaustion and the sheer weight of packing and organizing and those many other trivialities of daily life. While the TV flashes and my laptop battery wanes and I compose the little note that will make Dearest Hubby feel a little bit closer, I can’t help but feel like the night before Christmas, knowing that a Really Big Present is coming to me in just a few short hours. Woohoo!