By Paula Schmitt
Ah, summertime. It’s that time of year once again to pack up the family and head out in the car on a road trip. So delightful! I just can’t wait! Every year I plan this road trip – whether it’s two or six hours cooped up together, nice and close, in the car; WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A GOOD TIME, DARNIT!
The car is ready and packed (and I do mean PACKED). We head out for a week’s vacation to the lake and the sun is as bright as my mood. However, by the time we reach the expressway (a total of fifteen minutes), the clouds begin to form as I hear a whining from the rear of the vehicle.
“I NEED TO GO POOPIE!”
“NO you don’t.” I singsong with a nice big smile.
“Oh yes I doooooo.”
OH. MY. GOD. It’s starting already, only a quarter of an hour into our trip. (Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts.) Knowing there is no negotiating with the sphincter of a child, we pull to the nearest rest area.
Twenty minutes later, back on the open road, “Are we there yet? I’m getting tired of sitting in this car!”
Where are my earplugs? I swear I packed my earplugs.
Ten minutes later, “Are we almost, almost there yet now?”
We manage to travel halfway through our journey before making another pit stop for potty and snacks. Tanks on full, we pile back into the car, totally refreshed and ready to get on the road again.
“Mommy, Nick doesn’t have his seat belt on!”
Uh-Oh. Another cloud forms over my sunny disposition. Nick has violated the SEAT BELT RULE. This is, without a doubt, the biggest way to both get in trouble and really push Mommy’s button. Storm clouds in full formation over my mood, I turn around and thunder.
“Get that seatbelt on right now or else, mister!!!!”
I then pull out our list of rules for traveling and read them aloud (for the fifth time today). I swear I can literally see them going in one ear and right out the other.
When I am done reading our rules for road trips I turn on some nice, relaxing music, lean my chair back and close my eyes.
“Mooooooommy, Tony is sticking his tongue out at us!!”
THAT’S IT! I holler the words from the Holy Grail of parenting, “Do you boys want Daddy to pull this car over and for me to come back there right this minute?”
I have turned into a crazy woman, panting heavily and foaming at the mouth. I then glance over at my husband, who is conveniently relieved of all parenting duties by virtue of the steering wheel. He smiles, asks for a drink and reminds me that we only have ONE HOUR until we are there.
Over the next hour there are spills (Here’s your drink dear. Oops!), fart wars (I hang my head out the window like a slobbering canine), more potty breaks (You people never pee this often at home!), and a spitting-on-each-other fight (Stop it now, or walk the rest of the way!).
I try to keep thinking positive … we are almost there, we are almost there. I repeat it like a mantra and envision myself relaxing with a book, down by the lake. So peaceful. We are almost there. We are almost there.
I am yanked from my trance by Daddy’s announcement, “Here we are everyone! At the lake!”
There is no response. It is quiet. We slowly turn around and see four sleeping little angels off in la-la land.
I look at my husband with a sneaky little smile, roll down the windows, and we run to the lake hand in hand.