Yesterday I began, and today I finish, my trek north, wedged into the driver's seat of my SUV and surrounded by boxes and boxes of donations from members of my community. My original plan was to drive 20 hours to Illinois, but when Sara and Jeff decided that the best move for their mental health would be to leave Washington for a few days, we opted to meet at my Grandma's house in Arkansas instead. (This change of plans cuts 10 hours off my drive, which I greatly appreciate.)
I look forward to sharing Thanksgiving dinner with Sara, Jeff, Lily, and Carter, with my parents and grandparents, with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. I look forward to showing Sara and Jeff the generous donations, watching Lily and Carter open their birthday and Christmas gifts, and taking my sister to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (which I'll be doing courtesy of one very special babysitter, who wouldn't let me pay her for watching Will and Hallie while Tom and I went to the movie, but instead asked that I use the money to do something nice for my sister). But more than anything, I look forward to wrapping my arms around my family and telling each and every one of them how much I love them and what they mean to me.