This weekend we are headed north to celebrate my MIL’s 70th birthday. That’s about the only thing that could get me to agree to drive 14+ hours round-trip with 2 small children in 3 days. That, and the fact that the lovely folks at Koons Automotive have loaned us a brand-new Volvo XC90 for the trip. (More on that later.) In the meantime, wish us luck and enjoy this post from my archives!
The 5 Stages of a Family Roadtrip
You know how you feel the morning after a wild night of partying? (Think waaaay back, now.) You can’t believe how stupid you were to drink that much and stay out that late and boy, are you paying for it with a hangover from hell. You swear you will never again do something so foolish.
Well, I feel the same way after each trip to visit my extended family.
C. and I live 6 states away from our parents. The 7-hour drive has never been a picnic, but add 2 kids and an extra half-dozen stops along the way and it becomes a NIGHTMARE. Literally. The night before we leave I toss and turn dreaming of all the horrible accidents and traffic jams and germy rest stops and screaming meltdowns the trip might bring.
In fact, we’ve only attempted it one other time since Riley was born. But my FIL is turning 70 and, well, that seemed like a good enough reason to try it again. During the long, long, LONG drive, I had time to reflect on the 5 stages of a family roadtrip:
1) Anticipation. It will be good to see everyone. They won’t believe how much the kids have grown. And Riley HAS become a much better baby the older he’s gotten. He doesn’t scream or throw up nearly as often. Plus, Miles is SO looking forward to seeing his grandparents and cousins. Maybe the trip won’t be so bad.
2) Excitement. Off we go! The car is packed with snacks, drinks, toys, music, and plenty of DVDs for the portable player. The kids are in good moods, everyone’s healthy and moderately well-rested, and the sun is shining. This is actually kind of fun.
3) Irritation. The sun glare is unbearable. The brakes are making a weird crunching noise. And if I have to listen to another one of my husband’s skull-jarring rock bands or insipid kids’ CDs I will SCREAM. Wait? What? A 5-mile backup due to construction?! Are you freaking KIDDING me?!
4) Giddiness. Who WERE those people who said, “The kids will probably sleep the whole way”? Not in my world. My 3 y.o. is kicking my seat and shouting nonsensical phrases over and over — “Take a glance at Mr. Pants!” And my poor, overtired 1 y.o. is giggling hysterically. His laugh IS really cute, though…
5) Recovery. 8 hours after we began our journey, we stumble into the house in a wave of snack wrappers, empty coffee cups, coloring books, and dirty laundry. We immediately split off in different directions, some of us collapsing on the couch, some of us sprinting deliriously around the house. We made it. We survived. We will never — I repeat, NEVER – attempt that hellish trip again, so help me GPS.
At least, not until the next important family occasion.
QUOTE O’ THE DAY: Miles: “We should take a plane.” Dad (driving): “Why?” Miles: “Because the plane knows how to get there.”