It’s summer and writing is hard. The space around me has shrunk to next to nothing with the kids home, dogs barking, and mosquitoes stinging my skin. The kids are loud, and my house is filled with a cacophony of video games, blaring Top 40 “music,” and the doorbell ringing every five minutes. Having big kids is the greatest and also exhausting, much like having small kids. They never sleep. The sun stays high in the sky and my kids want to run around the neighborhood till 10 p.m., and crash in my bed and tell me all about it and fart on each other and I’m equal parts “yay for family time” and “get off me, get off me, get off me right now before I scream.”
Summer days are long and meandering, so we break them up with the occasional trip. I say “trip” because there’s no such thing as a vacation with your kids. On a vacation you pack for yourself. On a trip you pack for yourself, plus all your kids, an emergency bag filled with every possible medication and wipe you could need, with an extra roll of paper towels thrown in for good measure in case someone barfs or spills something. On a vacation you hold hands with your partner as you grab Starbucks before strolling onto the plane. On a trip you roll down the highway in the minivan with the bikes dangling precariously off the bike rack and you hope they don’t go flying off down the road.
As card-carrying members of GenX, Alex and I had two rules: 1) we’d never have a minivan, and 2) we’d never have a DVD player in our car. The analog family station wagon was good enough for us and it’ll be good enough for our kids. They can read books and play the license plate game like we did. Hours of fun. We broke rule one when our first kid was two months old and we broke rule two as soon as he had a sibling to fight with. We know the movie is over when our kids start fighting again and they fight until we can shove another movie in that blessed DVD nanny.
A couple weeks ago we set out in our rolling movie theater for our annual beach trip. READ MORE