My husband and I recently took our three kids on a family “vacation” to Washington, D.C., where our son was born a decade ago. I use sarcastic quote marks on “vacation” because if you’ve ever taken your kids on a road trip, you know the only vacating that happens is your sanity vacating the building.
These trips start out filled with good intentions, as we focus on the importance of togetherness and seeing the world. It’ll be great, we think. We have a DVD player in the car, we think. Our kids are older and can entertain themselves, we think. Sure.
Unfortunately, before we even loaded up the car, I accosted my husband in the kitchen and dragged him into a corner where I immediately gave him the full force of my crazy eyes and panicked voice.
Me: I can’t do this. I just need you to know that I’ve been with these people nonstop for six weeks already since school ended and I have serious reservations about this trip. I’m not gonna make it. I am hanging on by a thread here.
Him: Don’t worry. I’ll be in charge of the seven-year-old.
Me: The second we take the kids on the Metro she’s going to try to fling herself on the third rail. It’s gonna be a bloodbath.
Him: I won’t let go of her hand. It’ll be fine.
(Kids run into the kitchen spanking each other with plastic swords screaming, “YOU STOLE MY CANDY GIVE IT BACK!”)
A few minutes later while locked in the bathroom having my last few minutes of alone time, I checked Instagram. Three different bloggers shared photos of their romantic trips to Europe with their spouses. I hate everyone.
WANTED: “Road Trip Conversationalist” to spend 12 hours talking with seven-year-old, who has not developed an inner monologue.
We roll on down the road, four of the five of us content to stare at a screen. But my seven-year-old thinks she’s the lead anchor on a 24-hour news channel and dead air space is the devil. The thoughts form in her brain and stream out her mouth for hours unbroken. Now that she’s learned to read, she’ll read signs, and if she doesn’t have signs to read, she’s content marveling at the different noises her mouth can make. Someday her creativity and engagement with the world will help her achieve any goal she sets. She’ll be unstoppable. But right now in the car, she’s the worst and I find myself yet again wondering why minivans can’t have soundproof panes of Plexiglass between the parents and kids, like limos……. READ MORE