Sunday, May 29, 2011

Are We There Yet?

Remember in the good old days when we'd take road trips...?
Like the fictional Griswolds in the National Lampoon movies, our family often took road trips complete with singing songs, playing travel games, and stopping along the scenic route to look at some hole-in-the-ground landmark that some travel book named a "point if interest".

And like the Griswolds we had the fighting, the are-we-there-yets, and the overly exhausted parents reaching their breaking point with threats of pulling the car over. You remember the look...

Yeah -- I call it "the scary face". I think I may have even pulled it a time or two with my own kids. There is nothing more aggravating than when the kids are out of reach, in the back arguing and you're at the wheel trying to concentrate. There really isn't anything you can do short of pulling the car over. I don't know about your parents, but as a kid I knew that if the car got pulled over, someone was getting a spanking.

Of course modern technology has helped make road trips a much more pleasurable experience these days...




However, kids are still kids, and being in tight quarters for hours on end is still not as enjoyable as being in the comfort of home. And guess what? Kids still fight. And guess what else? Parents still threaten...


Personally, any time I take a road trip longer than 3 or 4 hours with the kidlets, I prefer to leave in the wee hours of the morning, or even in the middle of the night. If my kids can sleep at least half-way then I find that I am much more calm myself. I have enough anxiety if there is bad weather or road construction. The last thing I need is the unsettling atmosphere of fighting and bickering.

I decided that for this long holiday weekend I wanted to take a road trip to visit my parents. The good thing about trading my van for a newer car is that I felt confident in the reliability of the vehicle on such a trip. The only thing I really worried about is the fighting. They were not used to being couped up driving long distances, even if the Altima is fairly roomy.

So, Friday morning, I got the kidlets up just after 3 in the morning. We packed the car and got everything ready to go. (I would have done it the night before, but my oldest was in a school play that night and I needed a "nap" before hitting the road.) Well, no one at my house is a "morning" person. So, while I felt the stress of trying to get everything packed, everyone else was sort of grouchy at each other. I only had to snap a smidge at them and tell them to knock it off. We were finally on the road by about 5:30am and within the hour they were asleep...

ahhhh......

In fact, I have since decided that one of my favorite sounds is the sound of unconscious children, haha.

So for the next several hours, it was pretty much me, the open road and my favorite playlist. I love driving under those circumstances. In fact, I find it very therapeutic. Not only do I have the chance to ponder and think about a lot of things, but I give the best in-car concerts you've never seen before. Haha.

We made it safe and sound and despite the potty-breaks nearly every 2 hours (I have a small bladder and was on a constant drip of Diet Coke) we still made it in exceptionally good time. 8 1/2 hours.

So far we've done all the fun things one does on vacations. We shopped a little. We visited with family. We played games. We rested. We ate... and ate and ate again. Then, we even ate some more. We plan to leave tomorrow evening, after we eat. I hope the kids will once again sleep most of the way. I know some people think it's crazy that I drive at odd hours, since I am a single parent and the only driver... (not that my oldest can't drive, just that I wouldn't be able to sleep with him driving!) But for me, it makes sense for my sanity.

Here's to road trips and the open road! Be safe everyone! Happy Memorial Day!

3 comments:

Carla Gull said...

I love doing early morning/late night driving too--makes longer trips more approachable when the kids are asleep for half of it. Enjoy the rest of the trip! Loved the pictures you found for illustrations!

Susie said...

Great plan! Drive safely!!!

RhondaLue said...

Yes, roadtrips are exciting and dreadful all at once for us. 8 of us packed into a suburban, shoulders touching, is a nightmare (it's worse but I didn't want to say the 'H' word on your blog comments, lol)

I hope we survive the 8 hr roadtrip that lasts 12 hrs after all the stops. But yes, iPods, dvd players, they all help!!

p.s. I'm super glad you got to get away for a few days!! :)