Each year, we suffer from either amnesia or a heightened sense of optimism and we forge ahead with our travel plans, even though for many of us, it will not be merry and bright. This is especially true for those of us who travel with kids. If you have never been stuck in a car with kids or have conveniently forgotten how you were as a child, just imagine sitting in a small confined space with monkeys on crack. Even the most well behaved child will act up in the car.
Our daughter, S, suffered from motion sickness when she was younger. Without fail, every time we tried to travel more than a few miles, she would vomit all over herself. It happened so often, we always traveled with an extra change of clothes, old towels, baby wipes, a trash bag, and air freshener. One Christmas Eve, we took a trip to the North Georgia Mountains to visit my parents. We stopped twice to mop up toddler puke, change clothes, and Febreeze the inside of the car. Once we reached my parents' cabin on the top of a mountain, we gave S a bath and washed her clothes. Later that evening, dressed in our Sunday best, we jumped back into the car and headed down the winding and weaving roads to my parent's church for Christmas mass. S couldn't take the switch-backs and tossed her cookies again. This time we did not have a change of clothes. The Hub pulled the present he was going to give to me from the trunk and told me to put on S. It was an alpaca sweater. Our daughter walked into church looking like a little shepherd boy.
A few Christmas Eves later, we added a second little passenger and made our way up the mountain once again. Our other daughter, B, started to scream as soon as we placed her in the car seat. It takes about an hour and a half to drive to my parents' cabin. After an hour and a half of enduring blood-curdling screams and violent retching coming from the backseat of our car, while fighting holiday traffic, The Hub and I walked into my parents' cabin with our teeth clenched and demanded hard liquor. No one was surprised when we said we would not make the trip again until both kids were older.
But, the joy of driving with kids is the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. Kids are like wild animals. They long to be free to roam in the open fields, not tightly bound in a rear-facing car seat. Kids are naturally wired to move. They have to kick the back of your seat to release their pent-up energy. Kids, especially my kids, are music critics. They are not shy about their distaste for our "old people" music. (Heaven forbid I change the channel during a One Direction song.) Kids have no concept of time and demand ad nauseam to know if we are "almost there yet." Someone always has to pee when there is not a rest stop for miles. Someone always wants the other passenger to stop looking at them. Kids ruin road trips.
And it's not just on long car rides. It takes us exactly 13 seconds to drive from our house to my in-laws' house. It takes 5 minutes to load the kids into the car to make that 13 second drive. Every single time we get to the car, the kids fight about who gets into the car first. When we bring our dog Bailey with us, we have to lift her 65 lbs. butt into the car because she does not like car rides. This cracks my mother-in-law up to no end. It looks like this:
|I don't WANT to ride in the car, mama!|
We could walk to their house, but where's the adventure in that? Besides, we live on top of a very steep hill. Getting there is easy. Walking back is not.
I know I deserve all this traveling-with-kids drama. My two sisters and I put my parents through vehicular hell. When I was a little girl, my mom was rushing to get us into the car to get somewhere (I can't recall where, but it was important that we made it there on time.) Like always, my two sisters and I battled over who got to ride "shotgun." I wrestled my way into the front seat and my middle sister and I continued to fight. Completely distracted by our chaos, my mom backed out of the garage, failing to realize that the passenger side door was still ajar. She ripped the car door right off the hinges. We did not make it to our destination that day.
Until I had kids of my own, I never understood why my dad strictly enforced the "no talking while he was driving in traffic" or "while the radio is on" rule. Those rules eventually turned into the "no talking in the car ever" rule. I didn't understand why my parents would grumble, "just wait until you have kids" when we finally made it to our destination and all they wanted was hard liquor to calm their frayed nerves.
Well, once again, payback is theirs and rightly so. Every time I yell, "knock it off, you two," or "just get in the damn car, already," or the ever popular (yet never enforced), "don't make me turn this car around," I find comfort knowing that one day my kids will have to drive their kids around. To my dear parents, I am sorry I drove you nuts while you drove me around. I accept my just desserts. To The Hub's parents, I am sorry for all the mischief he caused on your cross country travels... Like the time he shoved that drinking straw up his little brother's nose, causing him to bleed all over the backseat of the car. Rest assured, we're paying for that, as well.
Karma is a car full of cranky kids and no rest stops for miles.
|Honestly, has anyone ever turned this car around?|
Photo Credit: http://cheezburger.com/3807832064
I wish you all safe and peaceful travels. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!