Children's Fashion Workshop



I'm Erin.  Gardening addict, incurable maker, insatiable reader, closet author, chronicler of childhood, wanderer, wonderer.  I'm glad you've come to sit a while with me.

Instagram @ewatsonhowe


Offhand comments:

9.y.o.-"I have three ant bites.  Can I use this stuff I found in the first aid kit on them?  It's called ant-acid." 

9.y.o.-"It would be awesome if we had a 3-d printer because then we could print anything. a tiny little model of Angkor Wat!"


Greenville, SC

The end/beginning of our adventure.  And really, is there ever any beginning or ending of our adventure?  So here's a point in our adventure that seems more significant than some others, is all I can say, I guess.  We crossed the country.  We survived thus far, and really had a very good time doing it.  Never in all my life have I seen such a tolerant, agreeable 3-year-old.  After five days in a carseat, she beamed on us and said, "Are we all done?"  It was such a good idea to keep the little boys in separate cars-the fist fights were considerably fewer than they might have been.  In the night, while we slept, the heavens gently washed the dirt I'd brought with me all the way from California off my tired van.  Symbolic?  Ah, who knows.

Thank you to those of you who've traveled with us, cheering us on, loving us along the way, even when we were getting farther and farther from some of you.  I've appreciated it more than I can say, the feeling that we were held and cared for and watched as we went.  It makes going into the unknown easier, when at least I'm not going there alone.  

I know there are new stories here, new things to show you (you'll have things you'll want to talk about, I...will...too *key change*), more adventure to be had.  There are still a lot of stories to tell from where we've been, of course.  For now, we're so happy to be out of the car, so glad that there's a little rain to greet us, grateful for friends and family who love us, and ready to get on with the search for home.



Meridian, MS

This begins to feel like a board game, of which my car is a game piece-Children napping, advance five spaces.  Migraine, lose a turn.  We draw the Bathroom Trip card over and over and over.  Today, later this evening, I expect to get my Get out of Car Free card.  

It's been funny to me to see the sides of the road go from sagebrush-covered, in San Diego, to Joshua trees and saguaro in Arizona and New Mexico.  Somewhere in Texas there begin to be trees, little short trees at first, but they steadily get taller and taller until here we are driving down highways that feel like tunnels through the soaring pines.  The humidity goes up too, although temperatures aren't what I'd expect for mid-July in the deep South.  I was almost chilly last night when I got out at a gas station and heard the cicadas for the first time in four summers.  You know how sometimes you don't know what you're missing because it's not there?  I didn't long for the drone of cicadas in California, but when I heard it again, it was like the summer soundtrack had been turned back on. 

We're listening to Orson Scott Card's Earth Afire, having listened to the entire book Earth Unaware.  I keep thinking my copilot isn't listening, but when the audio stops for some reason she reaches back over and turns it on.  What will happen to Victor?  Will he get the word out in time?

Gas prices keep dropping, dropping the farther east we go.  We crossed the remainder of Texas yesterday, along with Louisiana and almost all of Mississippi.  Just two states between us and our final destination now.  Strapping in, looking forward to drawing that card...



Abilene, TX

Only a couple of photos today, due to our having traveled only from Fort Stockton to Abilene, a measly 250 miles.  Which was due to one of the most untimely migraines ever, which was due, in turn, to, you know, stress or whatever.  What gives, body?  You can't just take it and keep on keeping on?

But (you know I can find a silver lining) it turned out to be a good thing after all.  With our bodies tuned to Pacific time, going eastward across the country was making us later and later as we went. Suddenly we were pulling out of hotels at 10 in the morning, pulling into towns at night that were closed, asleep, and unwilling to feed latecomers.  All without doing anything, we were feeling like slackers because the time changed on us.  But having to cut the day short to deal with a touchy head has allowed us to begin to recalibrate to eastern time.   So, except for the extreme pain and nausea, that turned out well after all.

After we were called yesterday for being too loud in a hotel room after bedtime, I carried a bit of a hurt around in the back of my mind.  I was thinking that people ought to support families with little children because of the public service we're providing for very little in the way of return from society.  They ought to cut us a little slack, I thought.  These kids?  It's not always a matter of a parent being good, and "controlling that child" or being a slacker and just not bothering.  They come with minds of their own, and control is tricky.  I had, of course, inflated the people in the room beneath us to represent All Society, and assigned callousness to the lot of them.

If, however, society failed us yesterday, I'm obligated to say that it came through for us today.  Having come into town at a respectable hour, we were able to enjoy an early dinner at Chili's.  Upon finishing up, the waiter told us that someone else had paid for our dinner.  Immediately we were abashed.  Had we looked so travel-worn that someone had felt pity for us?  Was it when we'd chastised our son for buying a video game on the table kiosk without our permission?  I began to think of all the facial expressions I'd made at dinner.  He began to reconsider how he'd spoken to the children.  Maybe they'd seen us pile out of the dirty van with California tags. Maybe it was because of the cracked smartphone screen.  Maybe because I didn't bother to straighten my hair this week...the reasons we came up with became increasingly ludicrous, until we decided that since we couldn't know exactly what our benefactor was thinking, we might as well think the best.  Surely, we concluded, someone just saw a family with a bunch of children and wanted to do them a kindness.  Maybe they'd had children of their own once.  "Anonymous" means we're very unlikely to ever know.

And so, as I assigned the lack of forbearance of one person to everybody out there, causing me to lose faith in people, I had to admit that the loss was more than compensated for by this one kind act.  There are a lot of us.  A dinner at Chili's with this crew doesn't come cheap.  I asked the hostess to thank them for us if they were still there.  For the dinner, I thought.  And for the patched-up hope.



Fort Stockton, Texas

Tonight we find ourselves in Fort Stockton, Texas.  Saddle sore and not quite halfway there on our cross-country odyssey to South Carolina.  

What we've learned today:

Children who will be cooped up in cars all day must be run around hotel sidewalks many times before strapping in.

My copilot takes many pictures, giving us a very fair recap of every day's travels at the end thereof.

Apparently we need written instructions for some procedures.

You know what they say about not being the lead dog.  I am not the lead dog.  This is pretty much my view.

Guess there are roadrunners in New Mexico too.  This one was huge and metal.  Must be a different breed than we had in CA.  We also got out at a rest stop that had a "Watch for Rattlesnakes" sign posted.  My hardened daughter brushed it off with a "Pssh, we're always watching out for rattlesnakes."  What have we done.

I've been trying to drive friendly since I entered Texas but I'm not sure how to gauge this quality in myself.  Am looking out of the corners of my eyes at other drivers to assess their relative friendliness.  They seem, on the whole, neither more nor less friendly than drivers in any of the other places we've been.  This will require more study.  Good thing I have like six thousand miles of Texas roads still to go.  

More of my copilot's photography.  She's getting pretty good at the process.  It goes-(gasp)..."look at that!"...grab camera, click.  She's got it down to under a second now.

Also.  When you're in a quiet hotel and you hear little kids start knocking around in the room above you, maybe think how they might have had their wild little bodies strapped into a car all day and don't be so quick to call the front desk to rebuke them.  I hope that all my encounters with other people like this serve to make me kinder and gentler.  I am thankful for the lesson.  But I wasn't very hard on the kids. 



Tucson tonight

Just enough time this morning to snap a quick picture, kiss the palm of my hand and smack it on the front door, give the cat to friends, and hit the open road.  Many audiobook chapters, Mad Libs, bathroom trips, rice cakes and goldfish crackers later, leg 1 of the journey is down.  Tuscon tonight.