... not to be confused with the Tough Mudder... so if you haven't had the opportunity and would like to, please donate to Will's Warriors here. Less than 10 weeks left until the big event at Mt. Snow, Vermont!
With so many unknowns surrounding our next couple of months, we decided to get away this weekend to a state park in Virginia. Though we're residents of North Carolina, we've found that the Virginia State Parks rock! We've been on several cabin weekends there through the past several years, and have explored several parks in the central part of the state.
This past weekend, we went to Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, VA... our first time heading into the Appalachian Mountains for a weekend away. And our first time on our own... just us and the boys!
I don't know how I happened upon this park, but once I saw the name, it was like I HAD to go. I'm always a hungry mother, so thought it would be appropriate to visit. Once I read the history behind the park (here), I felt a little differently. Even so, away we traveled.
Even Luke was into the name of the park, asking me on more than one occasion: Mom, will I get hungry at Hungry Mother State Park?
Let's just say that things didn't go as smoothly as I would have planned in my perfect world. We arrived shortly after the boys bed time, but couldn't get into the cabin! It took a while to get a ranger there to let us in. Once inside, everyone wanted to explore except Will who wanted to get to bed. The kid was tired.
The cabin was a two bedroom, with one room having a full size bed and one having two sets of bunks. All 3 boys shared the bunk room, so it took a while to get them all settled and quiet to a point where they didn't wake each other up.
Around 2am, I awoke to Will coughing in the room next door. Kind of odd, but I was happy that I was so close to be able to hear it. I walked in, and Will was wide awake and on the verge of vomiting. I didn't want to wake up Luke and Matt, so I desperately knocked on the cinder block wall separating the boys room from our own. Thankfully Nate woke up, just in time to clean up Will's puke off the floor.
But even more oddly, Will started to have a seizure. In the middle of the night. After being asleep for hours. This was totally unusual and out of our typical routine (if you can call it that). Will's seizures have always been involved with the transition from wakeful state to sleeping state. This was unnerving to say the least. Who's to say I would have heard Will cough like this at our house, where I am not a few feet away? Ugh... more questions than answers.
And more reason to believe that our trip to Johns Hopkins next week is the 100% right thing to do.
We moved Will into our room and Nate into Will's bed. I slept fitfully for the rest of the night - I kept waking up to make sure that Will's eyes were closed and his breathing even. Whenever we administer Will's emergency seizure medication, he's always out of it the next day. We all woke up pretty crabby. Thankfully one of the other things to love about Hungry Mother State Park is that it is less than 4 miles from a hospital. Which thankfully we did not need.
After breakfast, we decided to load up the boys and go for a walk. It was very cold and blustery, but we thought it was the right thing to do to shake off the bad feelings from the night before.
The park was built in the 1930s by the Civil Conservation Corp as a part of FDR's New Deal. The care they took is apparent in every aspect of the park - stone walls everywhere, even tow path around Hungry Mother Lake, lots of picnic shelters, cabins, and a huge 8 bedroom lodge. The park is very hilly and scenic. In the summer, I imagine that it gets very busy with a swimming area, restaurant, 3 separate camping pods, and an amphitheater on an island in the middle of the lake (you walk across a bridge to get there).
We did a good bit of walking. Nate, Otis, and I were exhausted! But happy to get out and about and explore. We headed back for to the cabin to warm up with some hot chocolate and eat lunch. Afterwards, we all took naps except for Luke (who kept himself busy with toys and his Vtech computer). It was nice to take a nap!
I know it might seem strange to drive 4 hours from our house, just to walk around, make food, and sleep... but it was all about relaxing and togetherness. The cabin doesn't have TV, telephone or internet access... and sometimes being unplugged is a great thing. We spent some time teaching the kids to play go fish, making s'mores, and taking walks just to see the sunset and a little bit of snow.
Unfortunately, we had a little too much togetherness by Saturday night :) We were all cranky again, having to break up too many sibling fights between Luke and Matt, and dealing with Will's crankiness from the emergency seizure medication. Bed time couldn't come soon enough!
We had no seizure issues overnight. We had breakfast and started to pack things up. We tried to get a group shot before heading out, but those never turn out right! We take what we can get!
It was a great park. I'd love to go back again, perhaps when things aren't quite so medically unpredictable. I was happy, though, that we went and spent the time away. We have so many questions to be answered and plans to be made in Baltimore next week. Knowing myself, this weekend would have been miserable sitting at home and wondering.
I am a mother who wants answers. I am a mother who wants peace. I am a mother who wants her child to be healthy and safe. I am a mother who wants to make it all right.
But for now, I have none of those things. For the weekend, I was an active, engaged, unplugged Hungry Mother. And that was ok too.