Since I've partially recovered from our beach vacation this past week, I thought I'd write a post about our road trip to vacation. Everyone should learn how to properly go on a road trip as a family. Just the two of you? Doesn't count. You have to have at least 2 children to be able to relate to our excellent adventures.
All road trips should start in the middle of the night. There's something magical about awakening at 3:30 in the morning to make sure you're on the road by 4. By magical, I mean insane. Hopefully, your newly found insane self is able to drive legally, in between the white and yellow lines. Coffee (caffiene) helps with this, but not too much, 'cause then you'll have to go to the bathroom. More on that later.
Be sure to pack your car very, very, very full. So full that you have to put the cooler in the back seat between your two children. Of course, they have plenty of room to breath, but not enough to do gymnastics. At approximately 4:01am (1 minute after pulling out of the driveway), allow the children to have a cooler fight by pushing it back and forth between each other, attempting to smash each other. This will be their attempt at gaining more space for themselves. This will obviously not be successful and will tick your insane self off enormously.
Deep breath. You can do this.
At 4:15, you should allow your children to decide that they would like Cookies and Cream PopTarts. They smell delicious at this early hour, in this very enclosed space. Quell the urge to vomit by sipping (not gulping....remember you don't want to have to go to the bathroom) your coffee. Consider cracking the window, but it's too loud this early. Breathe.
Exchange acid and sarcastic words with your 13 year old who doesn't know how to sleep against a window. Educate your child about how to place the pillow against the window and put her head on it. Offer her a sock for her mouth if she doesn't stop talking back. Reassure her that the window is a better choice than a cooler, despite how right she's sure she is. Make sure your eyes don't roll too far back in your head during this conversation. You need to be able to see to drive.
Your 11 year old has of course been talking since 3:30 with no end in sight. Not just talking. Talking loudly. No matter how many times you shush her, she'll end up loud again. Play a game where the first person that talks is the loser. She'll lose after just 15 seconds saying, "I just can't do it!!"
When it's no longer your turn to drive, attempt to take a nap. If you didn't bring noise-canceling headphones, attempt to meditate to zone out. Know that this will be precisely the time that your children decide to take selfies with their cell phone cameras. Enjoy sound of clicking mixed with your spouse's choice of music (maybe the 70's station?) while attempting to sleep. Hint: I promise you won't sleep.
Your lack of sleep is aided by your spouse's normal (read: slow) driving on the highway then extreme speed at turns and exit ramps. No, this doesn't make sense. But I assure you, when you're peacefully "resting" and the car suddenly rockets onto an exit ramp like a race car, you won't be sleeping long. Actually, between noises and fancy driving, you won't be sleeping at all.
Speaking of sleeping, your 11 year old swears she doesn't feel tired. In fact, she feels wonderful and excited and doesn't need to sleep! At some point in this blissful road trip, she WILL fall asleep. For 15 minutes. She'll awaken and look at the clock and exclaim, "15 minutes! It's a record!!" And then she will immediately resume talking. Did I mention she's been talking since 3:30? Like the whole time.
At a certain point, you're sure to have to stop for a bathroom break. Be sure to buy your kids gummy Lifesavers for the rest of the road trip. They smell so fruity in the early hours of the morning. Enjoy your kids creating rings and pacifiers from the Lifesavers by responding to their requests to "look at this" 52 times. ("No, really look at this! It's really cool! You didn't really look!" MOM!!"
Make sure you threaten your children and spouse with death if they request a bathroom break. Give in to their frequent demands anyway. You surely don't want pee in your car.
Be sure to arrive at your destination smiling broadly. You survived! Without putting pencils in your ears! Or jumping out the car door. Or trying to hitch a ride with another family at one of your gas station stops.
Cherish this special family time being trapped in a car for 7 hours. You'll look back on the time fondly. Really.