The Trip Story, Part 4

by mssinglemama on August 26, 2009

On the Friday after the Wednesday night when we finally got home, we took off again. This time Benjamin and Murphy were stuffed into the back seat and we were driving John’s car instead of Fiesta Dave. Even after hours of driving on our vacation, John never could get comfortable driving the stick.

The rehearsal would be on Saturday afternoon with a rehearsal dinner out at my mother’s house and then the wedding on Sunday. Up until now John’s exposure to my family has been limited, only because, aside from my mother, my family just isn’t around. When we do get together it can be quite overwhelming for anyone new to the mix. My stomach flipped on the way down just thinking about what John may or may not witness.

It was nearly dark when we pulled into our cabin, the Big Pine at Lake Hill Cabins. Tucked just one mile away from my mother’s house where wedding madness would be ensuing all weekend.


The cabin owner, Shelly is a long-time acquaintance of mine so she gave us a sweet deal. If you’re ever in Athens, Ohio mention you saw her cabin here on my blog and she’ll give you a discount too.

On Saturday, I reluctantly left Anna knee deep in cooking and party prep

woman cooking in kitchen

while we headed off to the rehearsal where Benjamin practiced his impromptu role as his cousin Josie’s flower basket holder. He absolutely loved the idea of “going to work.”

flower girl and boy

Later that afternoon we headed back to Mom’s for a rehearsal dinner that would have made Martha Stewart envious. My mother and sister are master chefs in their own right, and had food fit for royalty.

entree = dinner

And they have the shabby chic thing down pat.

shabby chic

And thanks to the Texans (Mom’s man Larry and his son, Micah)


there was enough brisket to feed an army.


But I was distracted by my handsome man, in his outfit that made him look he’d just stepped out of a J. Crew catalog.


On Sunday we were packing up, sad to leave the cabin but excited to get back to reality. After he popped outside with an armful of luggage John came bursting back through the door.

“Alaina!” he screamed.

“What? What?”

“The key broke, the key to my car just snapped in half.”

The wedding started in one hour and our cabin was twenty minutes away. I tried not to hyperventilate and reached for the phone. Who could we call? We tried my mother’s house but no one answered. We tried Shelly but she was away from her home phone and her cell wasn’t picking up. I managed to reach Eliot, who could only say, “Just don’t be late for the ceremony!”

Breaking the key, being so close to finally home and now completely stuck had not only snapped his key, but also John and I’s patience. We were both snapping, at each other, even at Benjamin who at this point could tell that he needed to keep playing with his toys and ignore the adult chaos above him.

Eventually we reached Larry who zipped over to the cabin. John jumped in the truck, took Larry back to mom’s and then came back to pick us up. While he was there I put Benjamin’s tuxedo on him and he looked up at me and said, “Mommy, I am a prince. And you are my princess.” As I buttoned his vest and secured his bow tie I saw his eyes on me with such intensity and knew this would be one of those moments he remembers for the rest of his life. Then I looked at him, kissed his little cheek and whispered, “Yes, you are, my little prince – always.

Then John Bear pulled up.


Somehow we made it on time

galbreath chapel

but it was right before we walked into the ceremony that I noticed John’s vacant stare, he had reached his limit. We were here but how would we get home after the reception? Until we figured it out we sat back and watched my littlest brother get married to my beautiful sister-in-law…




I just love Katie. And would you look at this?


At the reception, you couldn’t tell but John and I were still tense as hell. See? Just look at me… I secretly want to kill a baby bunny, even though I’m standing next to my brother Ezra’s awesome super model girlfriend Monica.


And just look at John. He’s ready to snap.


In the end my brother lent me my old Focus, the car I’ve been letting him drive while I use my Fiesta. We drove it home and finally made it back around 1:00 am on Sunday night. A few days after I picked up his car, with the fixed key and things had settled down a bit I melted down. It was too much. The residual stress of the weekend and the trip and now I was feeling some kind of tension between us.

“I just think that maybe we are spending too much time together. Maybe,” I said to him over the phone in a hushed voice even though Benjamin was upstairs, “we should spend less time together and that would make things easier. Maybe there is too much pressure on us.” I had used these lines on men in my past and they’d been very effective in pushing them away, forcing them into a corner where their only option was to fight back, claw their way out and break my heart. But John wasn’t playing.

“Woah. Wait a minute,” he said, “that doesn’t make any sense. To me spending less time together would be running away from this. We’re going to be fine. We just have to work through these things.”

“You’re right, you’re right. I’m just trying to run. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, babe, everything is going to be fine. I’m not going anywhere.”

The next day, a Sunday, John came over and we all three spent the entire day together from start to finish. Our first full day together, it was absolutely splendid. And in the daily moments of chaos between juggling a child and a dog and everything else we just looked at each other and solved the problem, not with stress in our voices of faces but with laughter and smiles.

Compared to the last two weeks of our lives, this was cake.

Now for the rest of whatever life has in store for us, I can only imagine but I think we’re ready for whatever it brings.

The wedding album is now complete. I labeled the pictures… start with this one and read the story in the caption. Something crazy happened to Eliot and Katie en route from the wedding to the reception in their Just Married car.


P.S. One of you said in my last post that these long trip posts seem manipulative. I can assure you, they are not… it just takes me forever to write them. This one, for example, took me five hours to put together. Five hours. It just takes a long time, really and between everything else – I do have to work still and then there’s the 3.5 year old thing. That’s all. Just don’t want any of you to think I am taking advantage of you. Thank you.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosie August 26, 2009 at 2:41 pm

I feel for you. I know how it can go from doing things on your own and wanting to run from conflict if it starts. Your John sounds much like my husband Mike (he’s the second husband) and he’s amazingly patient and non-confrontational, it’s weird for me sometimes. We’ve now been together for 7 years (married 3) and I came into the relationship with a 2 1/2 year old. I still sometimes react in a way that I think my ex would, and then realize that he’s not going to yell and scream over things and that it’s always going to be ok. Good luck with John, he seems like a keeper for sure.


Sheila August 26, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Loved reading your trip recaps! What a good looking family you have. 🙂


Glenda August 26, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Patience is key! Running is the easy way out, not the solution. If you and John are to cement this relationship, it’s working things out, the good and the bad…and meeting each other 1/2 way. “Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day”~Author Unknown~


jen August 26, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Sorry, long posts manipulative? Don’t get that. Anyway, that aside, if you and John can survive travel together then it’s a really good sign I think.


Jen August 26, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Wow – so reading this one really hit home…I had somewhat noticed it before in your posts (you know, the nagging – “hmmm sounds familiar), but kept ignoring the obvious. I am guilty of the “pushing away” thing. I, too, have always been with ones that played along. Good for him (and you!) that he is not like the rest! Congrats on finding one of the good ones. I just hope that he wasn’t the last and maybe, just maybe, there is one of “him” in Chicago! HAHA


Alexis August 26, 2009 at 5:30 pm

I love the way the trip story ended…home and realness can be appreciated so much more when we can step out for however long. And I loved reading all the parts of the trip!!! I need a cabin.


Annette August 26, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Wow! I love your writing. This is real life and inspirational.


30somethingmama August 26, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Hey alaina!
Your story is so real and i applaud you for opening up to us like that. Your initial reaction of running from a conflict was just your way of easing the pressure but your John Bear surely has his mind screwed on well and he knows in his heart you can “get through it”. He is in for the long haul, alaina. You are lucky to have a lovely and very understanding man.


Amy August 26, 2009 at 6:02 pm

What a gorgeous couple and beautiful wedding.. You three looked fab as always 🙂

Your first bout of extreme tension together; you did good!


Restless Mama August 26, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Congrats on overcoming life’s little punches.

Keep it up lady!


Amanda August 26, 2009 at 8:18 pm

I completely understand the running away conversations! I do the same exact thing with my boyfriend. Am currently doing it, actually. It isn’t good. And it’s part of my subconscious trying to fulfill the failure I feel is imminent for my dating life. It isn’t good. A habit I’m trying to break.


karen August 26, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Oh, he is absolutely great! You all looked awesome, and I’m glad everything worked out. 🙂


Jo Ann August 26, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Alaina, you completely draw me in with your eloquent writing. I could read and read all night……John sounds like a wonderful man.
I’m glad things are working out for you. It was so good seeing pics of Anna and the family. Everyone looks wonderful!


Steph August 27, 2009 at 3:43 am

As a single mother of 4, I just love to live vicariously through you! Thanks for giving me hope that there may be a man out there who isn’t afraid of 4 kids and committing to our entire crazy, wonderful life.


BK Mom August 27, 2009 at 6:17 am

Doesn’t it seem like these kinds of mishaps always occur in some kind of sequential order, within the span of one or two weeks? You’d think that after living our wholes lives with these kinds of stress, we’d have learned how to handle it! The ‘maybe we should just be apart for a while’ tactic is all to familiar, even though my boyfriend and I have been together for almost 4 yrs. I think it also has to do with the ever-present insecurity that, even though he’s stuck around this long, he still has issue with the fact that he inherited someone else’s (sometimes challenging) child when entering into this relationship. By saying that, I feel like part of me wants him to reassure me by saying ‘no, that’s ridiculous, I’m not going anywhere’ cause that’s what I need to be reminded of. Also, there is some part of me that is repeating the behavior of my son’s father (admitting this is AWFUL!) by splitting just when things get a little tough…in any case, I guess it also takes a long time to figure out that we need to stop playing silly games, and just focus on what we are lucky enough to have in our lives right now. Sabotage never gets you anywhere! Good luck.


littlemansmom August 27, 2009 at 7:10 am

I think that you’ve got a VERY smart man there sweetheartn and I think that you are doing just wonderfully. I know that my road with TBM has been bumpy and a weeeeee bit scary….but totally worth it 😉

ps….Benjamin looks totally ADORABLE!!!!!! and I finally got that care package ready to go…I’m such a slacker!


Jen C. August 27, 2009 at 8:42 am

That picture of Benjamin learning his “job” is absolutely precious and hilarious.


Katherine (SOLO dot MOM) August 27, 2009 at 10:18 am

These are great photos and I love the way you share about the tension and the role it played in your relationship with John Bear.

And umm… did I miss something? What manipulation? I love coming back to hear more…


Rachel August 30, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Awesome story! I’m so glad that he didn’t let you push him away — you guys sound so great for each other.


Melissa September 19, 2009 at 6:35 am

Alaina – I think you do an awesome job of attempting to have balance in your life. I often wonder about these people who leave negative feedback or comments, if they have a life outside their computer. Because those that do, can totally sympathize with you/your life. Your son has been mobile and needing constant engaging because his brain is a giant sponge. This is only going to get worse as they get older, so your time will be spread even more thin than it already is. Keep up the good work, because you are inspiration to all single mothers, or atleast this one.


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