First up on the agenda was attending an Adoption Day event at work. I don't talk about my job much, because I believe in the separation of work and blog, but I work in the child welfare field, and so many days the stories are so sad I could (and sometimes do) cry, but this morning my eyes teared up for a good reason, because 14 children were adopted from foster care into eight forever families.
It doesn't get much better than that.
From there, the day took a bit of a left turn.
My sister was planning to come home from Penn State this weekend for Thanksgiving, but unfortunately she came down with a bad case of strep throat. Instead of riding the lousy bus several hours home, my mom was going to drive to Penn State to pick her up. She asked me if I'd like to join her for the seven hour round trip extravaganza, and never one to turn down a good time, I obliged.
I picked up a large iced coffee on my way home from work, and we hit the road.
On the drive up I had to participate on a conference call for work, so I just powered up the laptop and worked from the passenger seat like a true road warrior. Before the call, my mom said, "Are you going to be embarrassed to work in front of your mom?"
I just found out that I have to give two presentations next week in front of the executive director of my company and a representative from a national organization, so my mom was a welcome audience.
The call lasted over an hour and I wasn't the best road trip companion during that time, but my mom was listening and after the call she said, "You were using all kinds of acronyms and words like "quantitative" and I though "Wow, she's pretty good at this!"
Of course. That's why I make the medium bucks.
We got to Emily around 4:30, and the poor thing climbed into the backseat with her pillow and her blanket and her slippers and her sore throat. We noticed on our way in that the traffic leaving town had been bad, so we called my dad to ask if he had an alternate route.
He told us, "Sure, get on 26 south, and stay on that for a few miles, and then turn left onto 355, towards Belleville. Then get on 405 towards Reedsville, pass the bank, and you'll merge on 322 east."
We wrote his directions down on a post-it, but decided to put Belleville into the GPS just to be on the safe side. After few minutes, Siri said, "In 2.5 miles, turn left onto Main Street, highway 355."
"Holy cow!" I said, "We turn on Main Street but that's also 355! Do you believe it?!"
"Well, yes," my mom said, "Dad was looking at a map."
Here I assumed my dad had just come up with these directions from his memory and advanced knowledge of state roads. It just goes to show that no matter her age, a girl believes her dad can do anything. Including navigating the back roads of central Pennsylvania at a moment's notice from 200 miles away.
After we got on a highway we recognized, my mom said, "Now girls, if you're hungry and want to stop for a snack, just say so."
And that's when poor, sickly Emily, said "You know what I could really go for? A cheeseburger!"
I thought my mom might drive off the road. Or at the very least, turn around and put her on the bus.
Halfway home we stopped for Chick Fil A (Emily settled for nuggets) and switched drivers.
Since I was behind the wheel, highly caffeinated, and factoring in my commute, was going on my eighth hour in the car, I suggested we play the game "See How Many Songs In A Row Laura Knows."
The suggestion was met with great applause and joy.
But I've long believed I know more song lyrics than your average bear and I love any opportunity to showcase that particular skill.
My mom agreed to the game and I pretty much blew them away with my musical knowledge. I can switch from ACDC to Fallout Boy to Michael Jackson to Jason Aldean in mere fractions of a second without missing a lyric.
At one point we were laughing so hard that we had to temporarily pause the game for safety.
"I told you I was good at this!" I said, "Isn't it impressive?"
"I don't know if...impressive...is the word," my mom said. "More like, freaky."
I'll take it.
I got home around 8:30, and Emily texted me when they got home ten minutes later that she'd forgotten to pack any shoes except the slippers she wore home.
I smell a sisterly shoe shopping trip.
From start to finish, today was a day about family.
And I'm sure thankful for mine.