Hi, I'm in your driveway, with a kid covered in vomit, can we come in for a visit?
"Mommy, I need air. Can you open the window?"
"No, I'm on the highway."
"I really need --"
"MOMMY, pull over, pull over, QUICKLY! Sylvie threw up, you need to stop!"
"I can't pull over, I'm on the highway!"
"It is everywhere! Oh, this is going to make me sick...."
"I tried to tell you to put down the window, Mommy...."
"I'll take the next exit." Should I find a gas station? A Walmart? I feel like one would go to a Walmart in a situation like this. But then what... Peeks over shoulder. Right. I need a power hose. Does Walmart sell power hoses? (Yes.) Where are we, anyway? New Hampshire, heading to an Evans family reunion, and for reasons that probably deserve their own post, Matt is driving up separately. Who do I know who lives in New Hampshire? Why yes, Kevin! A dear old friend who my kids call "Uncle Phatty" even though he is not really an uncle and he is not fat, and only the second of these caveats has ever made my children question the nickname. I think he lives around this area. Google maps has confirmed he is not more than 5 minutes away. Google maps cannot tell me if he is home at the moment. But what's the alternative? Kevin's house it is. Pulls into driveway. "Call Phatty."
"Hey Andrea, what's up?"
"Hello there! Guess what! I'm in your driveway. Surprise! Are you home?"
"We are. Come right in. Everything okay?" (It's not like we typically drop in on a random Wednesday at 5:20pm from out of state without advance notice.)
"Oh sure, we're fine! Well, I mean, Sylvie is covered in vomit, but we're good!"
So begins Evans family reunion 2018. An unexpected detour. The kids are delighted to have an impromptu playdate (after Sylvie does get hosed off, not in a Walmart parking lot, but in a nice warm shower with privacy and soap, even). She sings to herself in the shower. As if it's any other Wednesday. As soon as she is clean, she announces, "I'm HUNGRY." Clearly it was a wee bit of car sickness, nothing more. So we stay and play and Uncle Phatty feeds us. The only complaint was that he had run out of ketchup. Otherwise, a near-perfect experience. 4.5 stars in the Phatty Pad yelp review.
Back on the road, Aubrey says, "That was so fun to have a playdate with Olivia and Dylan!"
"You can thank your sister for getting sick."
"Thanks for throwing up, Sylvie!"
It's wonderful and humbling to know people who are kind and welcoming and don't even flinch when you show up unannounced during dinnertime and immediately ask for a shower, cleaning supplies, and access to your washing machine.
Thank you, Uncle Phatty. Grateful to know you.
Next time, we'll bring the ketchup.