I know that we have good kids, I do. I like to think that we have done a pretty good job in raising them to be polite, thoughtful, neat and well-mannered along with intelligent, funny and loving. And I have heard these compliments about all of them over the course of the combined years of raising them – my “performance review” so to speak, and I am proud to hear it.
But I’ve also heard (and remember) what a nightmare a family road-trip can be, even with the best behaved children, so I was a bit surprised when our boys requested a road-trip of 15 hours one-way. What kid comes up with this idea and thinks that it “sounds like fun!”
So, here we are after two days on the road finally arriving at our destination and oddly enough…we are all still happy. I have to thank technology for most of this perceived success. Let’s face it, when I was a kid we didn’t have a built in DVD player with wireless headphones (heck, we didn’t even know what DVDs were!) or handheld game systems, or an iPod touch to play with and watch more movies or listen to our own music. We also didn’t have the option of sitting in seats that kept us from touching one another (remember that fight? “he’s touching me!” “she’s on my side of the seat!”) No, we’ve come a long way from those days. And while that may take away from the “bonding” that so many child psychologists are trying to convince us happens on these trips as long as we leave technology out of it, I feel that we still got that experience even with a little help from our “friends” (iPod and DVD player)
We talked, they played travel Yahtzee in the back seat while I kept my eyes on the road, we listened to the comedy channels and the 70’s and 80’s hits on XM radio, and we ate in a couple of restaurants together that may not have been heavy on nutrition but easy and comfortable.
Not to mention the hotel stay – you’d have thought that the Holiday Inn Express had become the J.W. Marriott by the way my boys reacted. They LOVED the room! We swam in the dinky little pool, ordered pizza that was delivered (hot) to our hotel room door and popped Boy Scout microwave popcorn in our room microwave while we watched the Discovery Channel and learned how to make a spare tire from found objects in the wild (who knew you could do that??) It was pure perfection. Not one fight, not one tear the entire time.
So, the next time that they suggest a road-trip I will gladly Mapquest a destination and load the car, with a smile on my face. It is so much more worth it than air travel, both in cost and benefit, believe me. I’ve done both. A road-trip is an adventure with endless possibilities. And next time I will leave enough time on either end of our destination to make a few extra stops. Maybe the Bat Factory to get engraved baseball bats or an off the road antique shop to look for rare coins, or a local amusement park for a few hours of crazy fun. Those are the things that take the everyday road-trip to the next level. Those are the memory makers.
But for this time we’re happy with getting to our destination and seeing our favorite East Coast friends and family, making memories, sharing laughs…just being together.