Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nashville-bound Day One: Mary Poppins, Mariachis and More

There is a special bond that forms during road trips. Something about driving down the Interstate with the windows down and sunroof open singing really (really) bad and loud to music has the potential to create a bond you won't soon forget, especially if the person joining you in bad singing and sitting next to you is your child.

Isabella and I haven't had much time alone together since Paloma was born, and I miss it. When I found that my friend's wedding in Nashville conflicted with a chance to join James at the ever popular and glamorous White House Correspondent's Dinner, the choice was a no-brainer: Nashville.

See, I immediately knew there would be the opportunity for a long road trip with Izzy and I longed for time alone with her. I know seeing Jane Ann walk down that aisle and commit her marriage to Christ is something that far trumps a night with reporters and abnormally large egos all in one room at once.

I met Jane Ann at Tennessee. Not coincidentally, we happened to enroll in the same Monday, Wednesday, Friday speech class, and the same Tuesday, Thursday statistics class, both at 8am. Our eventual friendship led to her inviting me to a church she heard had a great new kids Sunday school space she wanted to take the "little sister" she mentored throughout the year. I met her for the 9am service at Sevier Heights Baptist Church, an event that would change the trajectory of my life and the reason my abnormally strange love for the southeastern United States all made sense. I'll save the long version for another time, but in short, I went every Sunday after that (because I actually wanted to, a novel concept to this Catholic girl,) enrolled in Sunday school, and about a month later walked down the aisle during the invitation and met my Sunday school teacher, Don Wilson, at the end and, barely able to hold it together said, "it's time," and BOOM! Niagra falls and ugly sobbing from the sheer relief and joy I felt from accepting Christ in my life and finally understanding that He wasn't just an invisible something out there, but a real, loving, living God I could have a personal relationship with.

All because a sweet girl from Nashville, Tenn., invited me to church.

And now that that major ADD tangent is over, let's circle back around, shall we?

Because an 11-hour car ride doesn't suit a toddler, and because she can still ride an airplane for free, Paloma flew to DC with James where she will spend quality time with her Abuela.

After Izzy and I dropped them off at the airport, we were off. First, there was some reading.

Then some sleeping.

Then there was the singing. It started with mariachis because my iPhone landed on Juan Gabriel's La Farsante while she was waking from her nap. Or maybe me just singing that song extra loud (twice) woke her up. Not sure. Then we moved on to Taylor Swift for a good two hours (because singing Mean just once is never enough,) followed by a very good hour or more of singing the entire Mary Poppins soundtrack in our best British accents, followed by more reading and a Doritos break. One must rest the fragile vocal chords, you know.

Then it was Juanes, Michael Jackson, Elvis, Rithie Valens, Bobby Darin, and ended with Brian Setzer's amazing rendition of MalagueƱa.

We stopped in an Atlanta suburb to visit out beloved Aunt Millie, the cool aunt we love to love but don't see enough of. Dinner and a margarita later, it was small town talk of Vidalia and off to bed.

Today we finish the drive and hope to tour Nashville by trolley so Izzy can see where Elvis recorded his first record. I love that she loves Elvis. Update to come. Stay tuned.