The Great American Family Road Trip [2017]: Day 9


Chocolate cake for breakfast.

Is there any other way to celebrate your four-year-old’s birthday on the road?

For months, my excitement had been building for this special day. My husband and I even purchased two books a month ago and wrapped them for our little guy.

And as we stood singing “Happy Birthday” off-key at 7 a.m., I couldn’t shake a feeling.

Today will be memorable for all.

After my son’s chocolate coma, we made preparations to leave Aspen, Colorado, for Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve. But Little Sister was on fire with fever.

In truth, she had slept 12.5 hours the night before. It seems the absence of her requisite three-hour nap had finally caught up to her. So we carved in extra snuggles and interpreted her irritability as a sign of road fatigue rather than illness.

But there is this secret that young families don’t like to talk about: Kids will get sick when you travel. They just will.

After braving both sand and storm at Great Sand Dunes, the fussiness took a new turn. Our daughter could not be soothed. And during an emergency roadside diaper change I made an alarming observation.

Two white blisters on our girl’s tongue – spotted, of course, in the midst of heavy rain and inconsistent cell reception.

Our Georgia pediatrician’s nurse hotline insisted we seek the nearest urgent care center. On a Sunday evening in rural Colorado, this means one thing: emergency room.

But, if I’m honest, the whole situation went better than I could have imagined.

No wait.

Friendly staff.

Prompt diagnosis.

And, truly, given the conditions of many National Park restrooms, we’re lucky our youngest child only contracted hand, foot, and mouth disease.

But, just before bed, I reflected on my son’s life. If you include his actual birth, this makes three “birthdays” that have involved the hospital (I went into labor on the evening of his second birthday).

Perhaps he’ll become a doctor one day.

In the mean time, he’s teaching me that love is patient.



5 thoughts on “The Great American Family Road Trip [2017]: Day 9

  1. So glad you got a prompt diagnosis – Must have been a worry until then. Yes, the old “hand, foot and mouth” spots – That particular virus (?) went round my daughter’s nursery way back when, but all clears up of its own accord I seem to remember.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, thank goodness, we seem to be past the peak! But the uncertainty was hard on my heart. Our kids rarely come down with the same illnesses, so it keeps us guessing! I’m grateful for modern medicine and extra time to love on my girl ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Uf- that’s been going around here too! Glad to hear it was diagnosed quickly, and glad that it wasn’t an awful diagnosis- though no fun for a road trip 😦
    Chocolate cake for breakfast is an excellent choice:) Congrats on raising a human for 4 years!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s part of the adventure! My daughter broke her army on day 3 of our 2 month cross-country trip…had to cross state lines to find a hospital in the middle of the night. Ended up camping in the hospital parking lot…It just happens. Another chapter to your story! Hope everyone feels better soon!


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