I got my driver's license at the ripe old age of sixteen and it never occurred to me that driving would ever be anything but fun, whipping down the highway, windows down, the stereo blasting. And then I had kids. Four of them to be exact. And a short trip to the mall with all of them in tow was enough to put my teeth on edge. Longer trips…
|Clip Art-public domain|
When youngest child was still in diapers, we made a 900-km trek as a family to attend a wedding. Less than five minutes into the return trip, the kids started arguing over what music to listen to. The eldest wanted In Sync, his sister pleaded for the Back Street Boys, while the two youngest howled for Singing Dinosaurs. I gripped the steering wheel, prayed for enough strength to keep from driving off a cliff, and popped in Garth Brooks. My husband remained silent during the kids' verbal barrage, his face pressed against the passenger window. He was feeling a little under the weather due to the large amounts of happy juice he'd consumed the night before, so I hit the automatic door lock lest he be entertaining the idea of jumping.
Two and a half hours later I pulled into a Dairy Queen long enough for everyone to stretch their legs, relieve bladders, and fill up on fast food. Back on the highway, my husband and I figured we could easily make the next town an hour and a half away, before stopping for diapers for the youngest who was wearing the last one. Fifteen minutes later, daughter, sitting in the rear seat between the two youngest, complained she was feeling sick. Husband handed her a Tupperware container that had formerly housed fresh fruit.
By the time we made the next town, youngest had fallen asleep, and not wanting to wake him, we decided to carry on to the next town. Our daughter continued to moan. Twenty minutes later, she heaved. Husband rolled down his window and hung his head out gasping for air, while third child leaned away from his sister pleading, "Don't puke on me, kay, Lissa?" Eldest child howled with disgust, youngest slept, and I focused on the road trying not to giggle.
When Daughter finally croaked that she was done, I pulled over, and Husband dumped the swirling green remnants of a Mr. Misty into the ditch. Baby woke up and announced he had to pee. So did third child; they stood together on the shoulder of the road, their two pink moons facing traffic, as they arced twin yellow streams. That's when we realized youngest's diaper was too soggy too reuse. We improvised.
Ten minutes later with youngest in a pair of suspiciously bulky underwear borrowed from third child, and Daughter in the front seat with the Tupperware container perched precariously on her knees, we continued on. After an hour of grinding teeth while the kids bickered, I pulled into an Overwaitea parking lot and dashed into the store. Grocery shopping had suddenly moved way up on my list of preferred activities.
Eldest child found me at the checkout a peaceful fifteen minutes later and announced that youngest had pooped; he hustled out with the diapers. When I returned to the vehicle, my still slightly green husband dryly pointed out that wings were useless for two-year-old boys. I kept a straight face until I rounded the rear of the truck; then I stuffed my face in a grocery bag to muffle my chortles.
We gassed up, ate while we drove, and completed our journey in some eleven hours and a million gray hairs later. We were still unloading the vehicle when third child asked when we could go and visit Grandma and Grandpa again. I smiled.
"As soon as you're old enough to drive."
He passed his driver's test last week. Guess it's time for another road trip.
~Time brings all things to pass.~ Aeschylus