Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What a trip...

We decided to go to my family's home in Kansas for Labor Day weekend. Road trips. That, my friend, is some good quality family time. Seven hours is a substantial time in the car together. In Europe, I'm not even sure it's legal. But, it doesn't start when you close the door to your not-hip minivan. No, it starts way before, when you're packing for every conceivable emergency. You pack the usual: snacks (fun enough to excite the kids but healthy enough to ease your guilt), drinks (that won't stain the new seats of your not-hip minivan), toys and entertaining-yet-educational books. Then there's the one's that only moms think of. There's the butter knife (the ugly college one that Josh contributed to the marriage) that you'll use to spread peanut butter for sandwiches and then later use as a tool to fix the jet ski that left you stranded in the middle of Winfield City Lake. There's the entire tub of wipes that are used for diapers, wiping hands and faces and will later be used for hats and then thrown at the windows when your kids get really bored. There's the little paper cups that you'll use to control drink portions and then later tear the bottoms out and hand them out in pairs as binoculars for a rousing game of I Spy.

You know that about a half hour into your trip your child will need to use the bathroom. So you'll look and look for a rest stop or a gas station. When you find the gas station, you'll go inside and you child will ask in a very loud voice who the other people are, and why are they going potty. They'll continue in that volume as they ask about why you are putting toilet paper on the seat and then not sitting all the way down on the toilet. They'll ask about the little box on the wall and then they'll ask you why you're talking in such a quiet voice. They can't hear you very well, so they'll talk even louder to encourage you to do the same. When you get them on the potty, they'll sit for longer than necessary before informing you that they just don't have to go anymore, the potty is all gone. You'll wash you hands, and their hands thoroughly with soap. You'll go to great pains to use paper towels to turn off the faucet and open the restroom door. You'll keep a tight grip on their little hand and lead them back to your not-hip van before you realize they've been dragging their free hand all along other people's cars and the gas pump. You'll spend a good amount of time maneuvering your way around the van picking up dropped colored pencils and retrieving books and your broken cell phones that now belong to the kids (because, they are, after all, the reason that they were run through the dishwasher). You'll twist your back in unnatural positions to turn on a movie and distribute Cracker Jacks, which you know are not healthy but you bought them anyway because they remind you of car trips when you were little. While you're stumbling around the van the kids will chastise you for taking your seat belt off. You'll smile sweetly, tell them they're absolutely right and hope that they don't report you to the pediatrician. About every ten minutes or so, they'll ask if you're to Grandma's house yet. You'll tell them no, and then spend the next ten minutes explaining 'why not?' About12 granola bars later, you'll get to your destination. You'll have a fabulous weekend, just long enough to forget about those seven hours that ended up being so worth it. Just in time to do it again.

5 love notes:

Bryner Family said...

HA! That is almost exactly OUR 7 hour trip to Kansas too! :) It was so fun to see you and your family this weekend. Our air conditioning went kaput during our ride home in our not-hip minivan, so we got to roll down the windows in 95 degree West Texas for the last two hours of the trip! The girls thought it was fun feeling the wind in their faces and saying, "Whee," like they were on a roller coaster. We were all glistening by the time we got home! :)

Amy R said...

Ahh, the family road trip. Childhood is not complete without it. And you're not official parents until you've braved it.

JustusFam said... you not recomend a road trip to Utah...wait for all the info...with 3 kids in the back seat of a Pontiac Grand Am?? Well we survive? I dont know...we will find out!!!!

the3girls said...

I love reading your blog! You make me laugh so hard, I cry. I miss you - please call so we can chat.

Laura F said...

Man, that road trip to Utah is crazy! Chris, if you're reading this... LEAVE EARLY, GET AS FAR AS YOU CAN THE FIRST DAY, then coast.

We did get one reprieve, however, as Audrey did her own little deed AT a rest stop, as though she knew it was the perfect time. It's funny how things like that, perfectly timed diaper changes, can make you cherish a child during a road trip, and look past some of the other less than stellar moments.