Picking up on my stress, the kids wasted no time and began bickering within the hour. I got a black eye when Harris, pissed at his sister, angrily kicked kicked/ body slammed my seat. I'd had my pillow wedged into the seatbelt, and was (sort of) sleeping with my sunglasses on, and the hard frames went into the side of my nose. I'd had enough, and was ready to punch someone, anyone, everyone... so we pulled off at a rest area where I kicked the kids out to run off their
mouths aggression outside the car.
Everyone went to the bathroom and hit the vending machines while I reclined and tried to get a nap. No one was allowed back into the van for 30 minutes. The rest area was quite crowded and noisy, but I managed to tune it out and fall asleep quickly.
Fifteen minutes into my nap, Ron came up to the van and said, "I'm having trouble finding Tess."
I sat up, suddenly realizing just how busy the place was.
Me: "How long since you've seen her?"
Ron: "When she got out of the van, with everyone else."
Me: "Is she in the bathroom?"
Ron: "No, Paige already checked. And she's not near the vending machines."
Me: "Oh shit..."
Ron: "It's ok. We'll find her. Go back to sleep."
In a panicked mom's heartbeat, I was out of the van, listing in my head what she'd been wearing, so I could tell the police, every made-for-tv kidnapping movie from the 70's and 80's flashing before my eyes.
I had just finished re-searching the bathrooms when they texted that they'd found her, sitting in a grassy area up at the edge of the woods (where the creepy serial killers live!). Everyone accounted for, they were climbing back into the van.
I took the keys, ready to drive.
"I thought you were sleepy?" Ron asked.
Adjusting the seat and mirrors, I chirped, "Nope. I'm good. Good for a long time. Let's go!"