We added another city to our “TEXAS: The European Tour” list. We drove to Odessa. Okay, we drove through Odessa. We bought gas in Odessa. We really wanted to go to the Meteor Crater Museum in Odessa. But after driving nearly two miles down that lonely stretch of road out in the middle of nowhere, the kids started getting a little freaked out and talking about that old, horror movie “Wrong Turn” and begged me to just turn around and go back to the interstate. So I did.

So, did we really drive 335 miles just to get gas and not see anything? No. We did, however, go out to El Paso to visit my parents. We had a fabulous visit. We spent a lot of time together, cooking and talking and just enjoying each other. And shopping with my Bonus-Mom. She loves to take us to Goodwill stores. Getting really great items at a cheap price with that whole 50% off of specific colored tags days and add that 10% military discount is like winning a scratch-off lottery ticket. My dad taught me a new way to make steaks on the grill and he smoked a meatloaf. It was delicious.

They wanted to watch a movie on Netflix after Randa went to bed, so I suggested “Dumplin‘ ” with Jennifer Aniston. I’m not a huge Jennifer Aniston fan. I mean, she’s good at what she does. But I don’t race out to see her movies just because she’s in them. But the book, “Dumplin’ ” was written by some of our local Fort Worth area talent, Julie Murphy. She is a #1 New York Times Bestselling Author. And she’s married to one of my son’s wrestling coaches. Coach Pearce and Ms. Murphy have a cameo appearance at the end of the movie and it is super-exciting seeing people you know onscreen. We thoroughly enjoyed the movie and I am heading to the library today to check out the book.

The drive was long but not exhausting because Sam has her permit and I let her drive nearly half the way. Dad worked with her on parallel parking so I guess she’s ready to take the driving portion of her test whenever she wants. I’m thinking about the time she can afford to pay her portion of the car insurance. HA! We played a homemade version of MadLibs in the car and cracked each other up with what ended up being twisted versions of song lyrics from the 80s. Aiman beat me by ONE LETTER in the alphabet game and we spotted license plates from over 35 states (including Rhode Island,) 2 Canadian provinces, 4 Mexican states, and a tag from Qatar. All in all, it was a good trip.

It is good to be home, though, because I missed my two other boys and my husband. I don’t think I realize how tightly knit we are until we’re apart from one another for more than 24 hours and then it sort of sinks in that these people are my heart. Thankfully, Randa is doing better with changes like short trips to visit her grandparents. So maybe we’ll be able to visit more often. And as to that old saying, “You can’t go home again?” It’s not true. We do.

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