I have a sister named Jennifer who lives in Tennessee; she's my half-sister, really. My dad was married once before he was married to my mom, and Jennifer is the daughter from that marriage. She came down to stay with us a lot when we were kids, and now she comes to visit at holidays and in the summer. But now, it's her AND her husband AND her three kids. Jordan is nine (I think), Elijah is seven (I think), and Addi Beth (Addison Elizabeth) is three (I think) (could I use parentheses any more in a sentence?) (I bet I could). I am a FANTASTIC aunt, as you can tell.
Now, given my recent experience with babies and travel, I have to say that I have nothing but respect and awe for this woman, as she has traveled from Tennessee to Birmingham and back with her three children ALONE on several occasions. Before last Sunday, I always thought, "Wow, that must be tough." Now, post-Sunday, I think, "Not even if Donald Trump wanted to give me sixty million dollars. Not even if Oprah wanted to profile me on her show and give me a car. Not even if God told me that I could eat Mexican food and steaks all day every day and never gain a pound. Not even if I could do all three of those things would I make that trip with three kids alone THAT'S HOW MUCH I WOULD NEVER DO IT." You think I'm being crazy and melodramatic? YOU DO IT AND LET'S SEE, THEN COME TALK TO ME.
She's really a fantastic mama. She's one of those moms who always looks cute, and always has a smile on her face until one of her kids makes the mistake of messing with her and then she's ALL BUSINESS, for serious though. She has got the mama voice and all the phrases perfected. At my dad's Christmas dinner, they decided that they wanted to take pictures of each individual family, like a picture of Jason, Kane, Jude, Reed, and myself as a family. So Jennifer spent several minutes trying to get Addi Beth rounded up, and finally bribed her by saying, "What if daddy holds you in the picture? Will you smile and be still if daddy holds you?" The second Addi Beth agreed, Jennifer announced, "Okay, I need all the Johnsons FRONT AND CENTER RIGHT THIS SECOND." And you know what? They came immediately, no questions asked. That's the true test of your abilities as a mother- if you can get three children to stop their three, separate activities in three different locations and do what you've asked with no complaints or questions, you've succeeded in ways that I will probably never experience.