Thursday, December 17th, 2009
By Mary Beth Evans
We are a family of five….Now a very big 5. Both my boys and husband are over 6′ tall. My daughter’s 5′7” and I am the shrimp at 5′4″(on a good day). Hard to imagine, all you gals with your sweet little children, but this is what happens. In a blink I tell you..
When our kids were young we started taking road trips. We bought a GIANT RED Suburban when our 3rd child was born. As if it wasn’t big enough, we got Red..?? I am not sure why that seemed like the color for us, but man did we have some good times in that car and some great memories. There were times I would call my two best friends Carrie and Carolyn and drive by and pick up their kids to go to the beach or somewhere with my kids and me. I mean, it sat 8 people…a true party wagon. It took a beating too. Kids spilled their shakes, dropped their fries between the seats, climbed in with their sandy wet feet and bodies. Not to mention a few leaky diapers and a few barf episodes we didn’t pull over fast enough for. Definitely a “well seasoned” vehicle!
When “vacation time” came around for our family this was usually the mode of transportation. Mostly it was a yearly ski trip to Mammoth Cal., Utah or Colorado, with the drive sometimes lasting as long as 14 hours. My husband and I are the kings of “the last minute” planners. There have been times when on Christmas day we are still vacillating back and forth about if we will be leaving the next day to take the kids skiing. If we decided to go, we would usually head in the right direction (hopefully) and pick up a map 100 miles out of town. What a luxury GPS is!
We never had a video or TV in the car. I think idealistically I wanted them to see the sites and TALK TO ME, not be glued to the screen. They mostly slept, hung out, read a little, listened to their cd players or played cards. Surviving the boredom had its own certain cachet. We had our special places we liked to stop. Like the beef jerky guy in a shack on the side of the road. We were often amazed that we could eat an egg Mcmuffin for breakfast and a hamburger for lunch AND dinner. I am here to tell you …it can be done.
I really grew to love the annual trip. It may sound like a possible nightmare, but look at the positive, you have a captive audience. The stories and events they reveal are enlightening and often very funny. My kids have very happy memories of these special times.
Last year we did not make the trip and my children agreed the winter break just wasn’t the same without the road trip. So now as big as everyone is, we will again hit the road this year. Oh did I mention we sold that suburban years ago? Now have a standard old land cruiser, quite a bit smaller…everybody pretzels in. Somehow it works. Now that the two older ones are in college I know these trips in their original form are coming to a close. Before you know it I’ll be the granny in the back seat…whew..yikes….maybe I’ve got a few good trips left.