On Saturday, Corey and the kids and I will pack ourselves into the minivan and hit the road. Destination: Colorado. Estimated travel time: Two days, each way.
(Note to any marauding armies reading the blog: Our house is being guarded by a band of ninja monkeys equipped with machetes. And we stocked the pool with a school of piranhas and Charlie Sheen. I wouldn’t advise a take-over.)
We’ve never attempted a road trip of this length before – not in our pre-kid life, certainly not with four kids ages (almost) 10 to one. And maybe I’m naïve, but I’m excited about it. Some might say giddy. I even rebuffed Corey’s offer to fly instead of drive – something that made him shake his head with regret and wonder out loud if I was certifiable. (“But I support your decision completely, honey,” he deadpanned.)
Here are five reasons why I’m eager to take Chez Love Well on the road.
1. I’m always a sucker for fresh produce (hello, giant tub of blueberries from Costco, I’m looking at you). But in the summer? My addiction is epic. Thanks to the farmer’s market and the local stands and Trader Joe’s and Costco, I currently have two fridges stuffed with berries and melons and radishes and greens and sugar snap peas and leftover caprese salad and a few random Cajun turkey burgers – none of which will survive our time away. If I drive, I can take that food with me. If I fly, I have to try to get it all in my carry-on. Which is a chore. I’m a fan of the easy. And the food.
2. Corey and I are expert air travelers. We can get through a security line, with all four kids, in less time than it takes some people to take off their shoes. But I’m tired of dealing with all the hassles. Rush to the airport, check the bags, rush through security, wait at the gate, board while smiling at all the fellow passengers throwing you dirty looks. (“I’m so glad our kids are GREAT at air travel,” Corey and I say to each other, loudly and with great cheer.) And then there’s the plane ride itself. “Sit down, yes you have to wear the seat belt, honey she dropped the marker, no we don’t kick the seat in front of you, you have to go to the bathroom again?” Living on our own time table, according to our own rules will be incredibly refreshing. Bonus: No delays that we don’t control. Unless you count Teyla.
3. I like a challenge. And I’m bored. Four kids in a minivan for 16 hours during the hottest part of summer? Bring it.
4. I think it will be good for our kids. I want them to see the country. I want them to realize we are incredibly blessed to be able to fly as much as we do. I want them to learn to explore, to flex their adventurous spirits. I want them to grow the character that’s required to drive through Iowa. I also want them to get better at the License Plate Game, because right now, I rule that one. (Although I do consistently lose at Slug Bug.)
5. I think it will be good for me. I realized, when Corey offered to buy plane tickets to Denver, that I would be disappointed if this much-anticipated road trip didn’t happen. I was puzzled by this, at first. (I think Corey is still befuddled.) But slowly, it started to make sense. Kieran is at that stage where he doesn’t stop exploring; 95% of my time lately is spent rescuing him from dangerous situations and/or searching for my kitchen utensils which he loves to hide all over the house. (Last week, after a three-day hunt, I found my kitchen tongs in Teyla’s closet.) And the other three kids need me to fix them something to eat or break up a fight or “correct an attitude” or get out the paint or read a book to them the other 95% of my time. (I know. But that’s how it feels. Work with me.)
Don’t get me wrong; we are having a fantastic summer. We are swimming and laughing and staying up too late and throwing spur-of-the-moment dance parties and selling homemade lemonade and eating ice cream cones that are bigger than our heads. But the idea of having all the kids strapped into their carseats for two days straight, while I listen to music or talk to Corey or revel in the quiet while everyone sleeps? Priceless. I need the down time, the time to rest and not rush. My soul is thirsty for Sabbath, vacation style.
I realize we’ll still encounter moments of stabbiness. I’m sure we’ll hear a whiny “How much longer?” a few dozen times. And if I know my children, no one will want to watch the same DVD for the entire trip.
But it will be worth it. I’m ready.
And if it gets to be too much, well, that’s why God created ear buds.