Over the Holiday’s many of you are going to embark on the family road-trip to visit family and friends. Many hate the idea of driving in close quarters with their back-seat-driving spouse and impatient children, but I on the other hand love it. I am not a sadist! We just returned from a family road-trip to see our friends and family in Chicago and Wisconsin, and while it was peppered with a few arguments and tantrums we made it through for the better as a family.
The road-trip starts days before in preparation. While I am updating software, collecting chargers, and downloading enough Netflix content for a flight to Australia, Carol is packing our suitcases with more wardrobe changes than a Lady Gaga concert. By the time we are done cramming in the slippers, blankets, and workout gear — it always stays clean — that we absolutely must have, we are packed in tighter than an Apollo astronaut. Our kids love it, and so do we (I think Carol is on-board).
The road-trip is one of the last vestiges of forced family unity. There is no running away in a moving car, sure an iPad can distract and occupy the kids, but eventually there are lulls where we talk about school, past trips, fun times, and memories we look forward to creating. There were numerous times where the kids just told us that they loved us, and we did the same to them. We watched them sleep, eat intently, share, then slap the crap out of one another in a fit-fueled rage otherwise reserved for synthetic marijuana users on YouTube. These outbursts past quickly and lead to heartfelt apologies because a car ride is a lot longer (13+ hrs) when you’re angry. Our kids are actually really great travel companions and are just KIDS. They do surprisingly well without a fully formed frontal cortex!
I am not naive to think this general goodwill will carry on in perpetuity and that our children won’t grow more vocal, moody, and less pleasant, but for now I will continue to live in a blissful world where my kids want to hang with their parents, get excited about a gas station treats, and love the little things in life. I just hope we have many more road-trips left in the tank.