1 Minivan, 2 Kids, 12 Hours: A Captain’s Log

We woke before the sun. Twelve hours between us and the ocean. For weeks leading up to this trip, I would panic and ask my husband if he’d like to reconsider flying. His reply?

“Making memories on long road trips is part of it, it’s a right of passage.” (insert skeptical side eye)

The day before, as I scrambled to pack every last item we owned into 2 giant rolling suitcases, 3 duffle bags, 1 beach bag, and a cooler… I was feeling the road trip anxiety. Every tantrum my kids had that week had me thinking, we’re going to be trapped in the car with these animals for TWELVE HOURS. I was consumed by the inevitable chaos that was to come.

The items that needed to be within Mom’s reach.

In my state of pre-vaca mom anxiety, I had a thought. What if I kept a Capatain’s Log of sorts for our extended family? They were all flying and meeting us there. I figured this project could help me process the madness and give them some laughs for their layover.

So for anyone seeking a laugh, or hitting the road with small children this summer… this one’s for you.

4:30 a.m.  Vacation alarm goes off (woof, but we do hard things to get to the ocean).

5:10 a.m.  Kids in car, in jammies.

5:21 a.m.  Wheels are finally rolling, Mom’s blood pressure is up already.

5:23 a.m.   Mom’s unbuckled and searching for snacks. Struggles with bag buried under luggage, punches herself in the face by accident retrieving it. Sheds tears and holds Mountain Dew can on eye for 20 minutes. Husband takes photo.

5:45 a.m.  Kids finally get requested breakfast bars, decide they don’t like them. Hand Mom the trash.

5:58 a.m.  Kids argue with Mom until she gives them Gushers for breakfast.

6:01 a.m.  Georgia’s tummy hurts.

7:00 a.m.  See Starbucks from highway, confused about entrance because there’s no turn lane, miss Starbucks. Mom’s eyes fill with tears.

7:15 a.m.  Mom unbuckles to help with iPads.

7:20 a.m.  Mom unbuckles to help with headphones.

7:25 a.m.  Mom unbuckles to get drinks for kids.

7:56 a.m.  Kids are hangry, Mom and Dad allow them to open Nacho Cheese Bugles.

8:00 a.m.  Arrive at Starbucks, Mom has kids doing jumping jacks while waiting for coffee.

9:12 a.m.  Potty request en route to gas station, promises are made to purchase toys for all if kids can hold it together for 20 more minutes.

Moms just make it up as we go…

10:00 a.m.  Nacho Cheese Bugles are almost gone, really putting in effort to not open candy until after lunch.

10:32 a.m.  Trying to push electronics for a few moments of peace. Mason decides his headphones don’t extend far enough for his head. Major melt down follows.

11:08 a.m. Minutes away from Chick Fil A, Mason and Dad still struggling over headphones. Dad gives speech about Mason adjusting his expectations for the car trip and being intentional about manners. Mason angrily yells that Mom and Dad are giving him “Wacky Thoughts”, a term he’s recently learned at preschool. It’s cute so Mom and Dad laugh, Mason is furious.

11:15 a.m. Mason exclaims that this Chick Fil A Play Place is different because now we’re in “AlaVAMA”.

Thank goodness for Chick Fil A.

11:54 a.m.  Back on the road, and breaking into candy immediately because Mason forgets nothing, ever.

12:38 p.m.  Mason’s ASLEEP!

12:47 p.m. Georgia and Mom have a struggle over pouring a water bottle into an empty sippy cup. Mom settles on a hybrid idea, in turn sloshing water everywhere. Georgia smiles at an angry Mom.

1:01 p.m.  Georgia showing no signs of fatigue, but has settled on watching a show on her iPad. Mom and Dad feeling celebratory but afraid to outwardly acknowledge the quiet.

1:07 p.m.  Switching highways and have to stop at a light. Without opening his eyes, Mason mumbles, “How many more minutes…”.

1:18 p.m.  Both kids asleep. PRAISE JESUS, IT IS CONFIRMED THAT AFTER EIGHT HOURS OF CAR TIME BOTH CHILDREN ARE SLEEPING.

Can I get a slow clap?

3:01 p.m.  Another stoplight, both wake up disoriented and mad about life. Happy to hear we’re “less than 100 miles away”. Woof. Mom is less impressed with this statement.

3:32 p.m.  We cross the Florida line, all passengers are screaming. Some of us happy, some not.

4:35 p.m. We pull up to beach house, open the van door. What happens next can only be described as a concoction of happy tears, a giant sigh of relief, and a flow of trash/electronics/shoes pouring out of the van as we exit.

In the end, it wasn’t all that bad. I suppose your not-so-great memories of a car trip fade away as days go by, just like any other toddler tantrum or sleepless night. It certainly helps to laugh, and while you’re at it… better write it down. The great thing about being a family is this: there is nothing, nothing, that could have happened in that van that would make me love my people any less. Every one of us contributed to the crazy, and that’s apparently what it’s all about. Just the modern-day Griswold family, making memories.

 

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