Oh yeah! It’s a ROAD T.R.I.P! Seriously every time I get into a car with children I consider it a road trip! I mean, EVERY TIME! Just to go down the street to the park is a giant headache let alone cross country. I mean gee willakers. First get snacks, 2, get more snacks, 3, get diapers and changing paraphernalia if not potty trained, 4, toys to play with, 5, water, 6, load up, and make sure there are no cars coming for miles if you can’t load up in a driveway, 7, agonizingly let them get in their car seats and let them buckle themselves in (for the love of GOD snap it in already), 8, organize an exit strategy so that when you get out it will be as smooth as possible, and carrying everything is as easy as possible, 9, start your engine and GO! Yup, this is what you have to do BEFORE you even hit the road to the museum!
I don’t know how parents do it. I really don’t. I have parents that go to their mountain homes every weekend that are 2 hours away, and the idea of that gives me the shivers. I have some kids that once they hit the car they are non stop talkers; which I love to hear some of the things they say, and the questions they ask but sometimes driving is all I can do; thanks to all the texters out there that are driving while they’re texting (seriously stop it).
Of course the whole road trip thing is romanticized in our heads (I don’t know why; parents think it’s a bonding time?). All I know is that when I was a kid road trips were, to be polite; not the most fun. Dad would have to stop at every landmark that was advertized, my siblings would fight, and it was H O T! We didn’t have air conditioning and a lot of times we were driving from Utah to Arizona to visit grandparents. That’s what I remember the most, the blinding sun beating down on my lap, dad needing beef jerky, my brother telling me they found me under a rock and I really wasn’t his sister or part of the family since I was the only one with red hair, and the lick ’em stick ’em books my mom would get a ton of so I could lick and stick to my heart’s content. These books were the old time sticker books. You would have to punch out the forms, carefully or you’d tear them up, and find the matching form in the book and lick the back of the “sticker” to moisten the back so it would stick to the page. This would entertain me for hours. My older sister would read out loud too, and I liked that. When I was old enough to read I would read from the time I got in the car until the sun went down or we reached our destination. That was the most fun about road trips for me.
Times have changed and road trips are now air trips, and an 8 hour drive has turned to a 2 hour flight at most. Either way the organization is the same if not worse due to security check-in and the inability to pack liquids; kids get thirsty, taking your shoes off, putting everything you packed into separate bins just to have to repack when your luggage comes out the other side, and getting everyone back into shoes, and with little ones this is the WORST. Lick ’em Stick ’em books have been replaced with pads and electronics of all sorts, and you have the added worry of keeping the kids quiet so the other passengers don’t give you the dreaded sigh or eye of evil. Air travel isn’t as private as driving along in your very own metal capsule that allows screaming, fits, arguments, and frazzled parents needing beef jerky, and your own control of bringing water.
Either way may your roadways and airways be filled with a lot of memories, laughter, and the realization that any trip with children will not be calm even if it’s to the grocery store.