It might be hard for some people to understand, but I have just spent almost 42 hours in the car with my husband and 5 kids and I’ve loved every minute of it (well, almost every minute!). Like most families, our lives are beyond busy. We squeeze every hour out of the week and usually find we could use at least 8 more. We have a master calendar in the kitchen that highlights the week – it’s organized by day, by person and by color. Each week is different and each day is different — and it is always changing. We still try to eat meals together during the week and Sunday evenings are reserved for family time only.
We are now at the tail end of our Spring Break trip to Disney World. The 21 hour drive there was filled with reading, playing video games, watching movies, talking, laughing and some amazing signing by all 7 of us. I watched each of us begin to relax about 4 hours into the trip. I watched our 5 interact with each other more and share laughter about the silliest things.
Friends thought we had lost our minds when we said we were going to load everyone up and drive to Orlando from Kansas City. I now know how valuable this trip has been for our family. Our bonds are tighter, we shared more laughter, we got to know each other more and we made a zillion new memories. It’s hard to do that running through an airport, the stress of going through security and trying to get seats together on the plane … and getting a rental car big enough for all 7 of us.
I remember a family vacation in my parents 1976 chocolate brown Oldsmobile Toronado. We loaded up and headed to California – a 3 day trip. My brother Mark brought along his golf bag and I brought along my Barbie camper. Those two items left enough room for our legs to be wrapped around our heads for the majority of the trip. We had AM/FM radio and that was about it — and FM didn’t work for 99% of the trip. We stopped for pie and saw Bonnie & Clyde’s get away car (or so they told us). We stopped in Reno and enjoyed a 115 degree walk through the downtown. My Dad was relaxed, Mom was happy and the four of us enjoyed every minute of it.
Things have changed a bit … each kid has headphones, phones, DVD players, itouches and Dad has XM radio playing every basketball game during March Madness. I have my Mac, my phone and my Ipad loaded with books to read. In the midst of all the technology, we are able to squeeze in conversations about their friends, their classes, their teachers, songs they like, favorite movies and talked about faith and family. We had some laughs (thanks to our oldest) that will become humor lore for our family. We got to see parts of the country that they hadn’t seen and scratched off another two states for the 50 State We Have Seen game (Tennessee and Kentucky).
When it comes right down to it, 42 hours in a car with the family isn’t the nightmare we had anticipated. I kind of hate it that we are almost home. No homework, no activities, no friends calling, no commuting. Just the 7 of us together getting to know each other better, sharing some funny moments and talking about things we often times don’t have time to talk about.
We voted on our summer vacation. The kids want to rent a big camper and drive someplace new on the west coast. Another adventure all together in one vehicle. heaven.