Some Happy Perks About The Insanity Car Travel
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It’s not often that I write my column on location, but sitting in the front seat of a rented minivan(with Car DVD), watching the miles of I-10 slowly pass, it just feels more appropriate to record this from the front lines of battle, rather than from the sanctuary of my office. After all, this is our first driving trip of any great distance as a family of five and there are some moments and emotions that simply have to be recorded as they are happening to fully appreciate their impact.

Like the fact that my son is currently sitting with a plastic bucket in his lap just in case his complaints of an upset stomach turn into anything … productive.

The recent death of my husband’s grandfather necessitated a rather quick trip to El Paso, Texas and after considering the cost difference between driving and flying, we decided it would be a good idea to drive. And by “good” I mean “insane.”

At least that was the overwhelming reaction we received. Family members, friends, coworkers and the like all gasped when they heard our plan, as though we were the first and only people to have considered such a feat. Let me tell you, we are definitely not the first ones to do this.

I’m sure many readers can recall – as I can from my own childhood – piling into the family car with activity bags packed to the gills, where the snacks were flowing and the words “are we there yet?” and “I need to go to the bathroom” were never far from at least one person’s lips.

OK, I’ll grant the fact that the decision to drive straight through rather than springing for a hotel mid-way was not my favorite part of the plan either. But sometimes you do what you have to do to meet the demands of work, family obligation, finances and time constraints. Plus my husband is a genuine night owl and with two of us sharing the driving responsibility it seemed like a good way to go.

We left at 6 p.m. Tuesday, figuring we’d get a few hours under our belts before stopping to change the kids into their pajamas and bed them down for the night. Instead, we made it as far as Hurricane before we had to stop.

Hurricane, people! I am not kidding.

It was then we realized that although our 6- and 2-year-old children would probably do well, it was our 4-month-old daughter who would set the pace for this trip. Between stops to breastfeed and change her diaper – two tasks which, unfortunately, did not coincide as frequently as we would like – we were in for quite a stop-and-go kind of trip.

Five hours in we were still 90 miles from Flagstaff, Arizona, but I consoled myself by savoring the memories we were making along the way. I mean it. No sarcasm.

Although we did take advantage of some borrowed technology in the form of an Android Car Stereo for the kids, we limited its use in order to maintain the novelty of the idea, and also to ensure that when we returned home we would have made some family connections during our together time, in addition to surviving the trip.

That idea paid off in spades as we had the chance to overhear our two older children playing together in the backseat – sweet moments that helped to offset the annoyance of hearing the occasional bickering coming from the same spot. We fielded some rather deep spiritual questions from our 6-year-old and my husband and I had some much-needed time to chat.

Chats that were regularly interrupted, naturally.

During both the drive to El Paso, and the trip home – which we ended up splitting into two days – I have stretched myself in more ways than one. Physically for starters. I mean, would it be too much to ask for the passenger side seat to swivel, thus easing the strain placed upon a mother’s neck and arms as she cranes time and time again to hand her child a water bottle, retrieve a dropped toy, replace a baby’s binkie and look at the most recently completed child drawing?

I’ve also stretched my creative story telling talents to the max — and I won’t lie, I’ve been pretty impressed with my ability to spout off a litany of tales with zero preparation.

The nearer we get to our St. George home however, the better I feel. Still, knowing this will not be our last car ride together as a family makes me happy too. Almost as happy as I will feel when this one is done. Finally, this car is so cool since an Car DVD player is installed.


Street Talk

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