Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I don't go to Kansas very often

but once in awhile, I find an excellent reason for a road trip.

and her adorable children were the recent excellent reason.

I've been plotting a way to connect with Lissa for some time. Last summer, Atticus and I talked about a trip to Gettysburg with our kids. Hey ... Gettysburg is east ... Lissa is east. This could work. But it didn't. The trip wasn't in the summer travel budget, and Gettysburg and the rendezvous were not to be.

So, when I found out about The Big Move, I knew this was our chance. Then I learned that Lissa would be traveling on I-70. Not an -I- that runs through our neighborhood. Oh, woe is me. But, not to worry. Have van, will travel. And what's a few hours in a van? Especially when you have three delightful (most of the time) travel companions who:

a. like books on tape as much as you do

b. like to stop for coffee as much as you do (though they normally pass on the coffee and ask for ice cream, Hershey bars or candy necklaces)

c. are as eager as you to meet up with the bonny gang (or, as Ramona said, while we were all piled into a tiny convenience store bathroom, just minutes away from the meeting place, "I'm desperate to meet them!")

We hadn't known exactly when Lissa would hit Kansas, but our schedule was mercifully open over the 2-3 day span that we were aiming for. It worked.

To anyone who doesn't have "an internet life" this whole thing sounds immensely strange. After Mass on Sunday, a friend asked if we were stopping at the parish hall for doughnuts. When I explained that I couldn't as I had to go home and finish packing so that we could drive several hours to meet "strangers" she looked at me with widened eyes. I said, "I know ... it sounds a little odd when I say it out loud."

"Oh, no, no," she replied politely. "And she's a writer, huh? Yes, well. I'm sure you'll have fun."

I did. The kids were instant friends; Ramona and Beanie were inseparable, the older girls held hands and chattered, and they all giggled over shared jokes from their mothers' blogs. At one point, we were called to the principal's office for allowing our children to have too much fun (the front desk rang us with a warning to please kick it down a notch) and I have to admit that I did feel bad that we were the cause of some poor, weary traveler's sleep deprivation. After all, I had been ignoring my children for "my Lissa talk time." I think the children were flinging themselves off the top of the ice machine when the phone call came in, but who knows? I was busy talking to Lissa.

When the girls and I woke up on Monday morning, Ramona said, "Whew! That was a short night! Cuz they don't allow long nights in this hotel."

I just have to add that WonderBoy is too cute for words, and that I want a baby just like Rilla. She's magically good. She goes to sleep happy, wakes up happy, looks at you happily and generally makes you happy. Touched by the fairy folk, to be sure. And Lissa is every ounce as warm, generous and lilting as you imagine her to be.

So, if you ever have the chance to meet up with Lissa and her kids at a Comfort Inn in Kansas, I highly recommend it. Just watch out for those ice machines.

Oh, and be ready to wipe away a tear when you face the fact that you will most likely never, ever really live next door to this beloved friend.


Love2Learn Mom said...

That is SO neat!

Alice said...

Karen, I know exactly how you feel.

Rebecca said...

Oh, how I would love to meet both of you sweeties! :)

Dawn said...

Oh the joy, Karen! Thanks for sharing the details! :)

Karen E. said...

Alice wrote: "I know exactly how you feel."

I know you do, Alice ... it's exactly what you told me I'd feel, and you were right. :-)

JennGM said...

What a joyfilled wonderful evening!

Jennifer said...

This made me laugh. I always try to be a little vague on where I get all the great homeschooling tips. "You know, the bunch of random, but wonderful people I talk to on the computer all the time?" I'm so glad you got to visit. It sounds wonderful.

..Michele Q said...

Awww, I'm so glad you got to meet Lissa - she's a sweetheart.

And if you ever do get to Gettysburg let me know. I'm only an hour from there!

Melissa Wiley said...

Oh, Karen, I am the one who was blessed! I still can't believe you drove so far just to see us. We loved each and every one of you to pieces, as I knew we would. And I SO wish I could get you and Alice together with all your younguns.

My gang has not stopped talking about you all for one second. You were definitely the highlight of the first leg of our trip. If only, if only!!! I am pining for another visit!

Mary Beth P said...


I enjoyed your post! I am one who did have the privelage of living "almost" next door to Lissa.(I actually lived around the corner, but my brother lived NEXT DOOR). She is as wonderful. I can relate to travelling for internet friends. I live in a very rural community, on the coast of Maine. MY main socialization is the "MOMMY BLOGS" (mainly Bonny Glen & Lilting House). I am happy to be introduced to a new virtual friend.

Karen E. said...

Marybeth ... welcome -- just visited your blog, too! We're flip sides (all boys vs. all girls ....)

Lissa, I'm pining for another one, too!

And, Michele, Atticus says he *will* make that Gettysburg trip happen one of these days. And I'll definitely alert both you and the Hershey factory that we're coming. :-)