Monday, July 25, 2011

More Tales from the Road Weary

So, that was the first day of our trip. You’d think everything would go smoothly from here on out, wouldn’t you? You would be wrong.

Well, that’s not quite fair. The rest of the trip was a bunch of fun, and there were no more travel nightmares like suddenly dropping the muffler on the highway or losing our reservations and having to sleep on park benches. I certainly hope the latter would never happen since we were staying with family.

My (great, in title and in kindness) aunt and uncles generously opened their home for the 4 of us scallywags to take over their basement for the following 8 days. Other aunts, uncles, and cousins showered us with generosity as well, feeding us, providing gathering places, and hosting parties and get-togethers almost every evening. It was a lot like I remember the road trips of my childhood being, to the same place, and I’m so glad I got to share that with my own kids, and see the whole business from the perspective of an adult and a mom. The view is certainly different. There isn’t a whole lot of vacation in a family vacation for the mom, and that’s OK, because then the mom gets the control. Unless, of course, you end up traveling with your own mother who enjoys her control as much as you do, and then you’re straddling the line between mother of kids and daughter of mother and it gets kind of confusing in moments. Luckily, my mom and I share the same vision for what we want out of this type of family trip, so it worked out rather nicely. Mom taught me well. Especially proper packing techniques.

I’m sure this trip wouldn’t appeal to everyone, since there isn’t a ton of activity involved and we certainly didn’t head off to a tourist destination of great appeal. This was about getting out of dodge, seeing the country and ending up in a place surrounded by people who love you and want nothing but to make you relax and laugh. In my opinion, we succeeded on all counts. I’m sure my husband would prefer a more action-packed itinerary, but deep down, I think he enjoyed the chance to gear down and not think about anything expect what cocktail to drink when happy hour rolled around. (And with my family, happy hour starts early. I love my family.)

Amid the flurry of hugs upon our arrival, this happened:

Some months ago, another great aunt and uncle were visiting us. Now this great uncle is a master woodworker and has made my kids some amazing toys in the past, including a 6 car circus train, a baby doll high chair, and a working dump truck. On this occasion, when asked how she liked feeding her babies in a custom made high chair, my darling daughter simply stated that she needed a doll table and chair set to go with it. Kind and hospitable, that girl. Well, Larry remembered that, and when we showed up, he promptly set down a beautifully crafted, tiny dining set in front of Sabrina. To say her eyes lit up would be an understatement. Her whole body glowed and she ran to find her teddy bear and give him the inaugural seat. Awesome. And, thanks.

We then commenced a week plus of not having the clean, pay bills, or do yard work. This enough was reason for the trip. There were plenty of people on hand to watch out for the kids, and since we were in a small town where everybody knows each other and things are generally low key, Sammy and Sabrina could roam all over the place without my worrying every single second. A little taste of freedom all around, you might say. It wasn’t 9 million degrees like at home, so when my relatives kept apologizing for the scorching 85 degree temperatures, we just laughed. We ate meat and fish and cheese and snowcones (wither the vegetables, Family?) and even frog legs (not me, ain’t happening, regardless of how much money you offer me, and Dad, 5 bucks won’t get it done). I lost count of the playgrounds we road tested. We visited farms, amusement parks, and nature centers. My aunt and uncle’s house was next door to an amazing park chock full of trails that I made great use of in the early mornings before my sleepyheads got up. And that same park hosted a fireworks show for the fourth that we could watch from our hosts’ driveway. Not bad, not bad at all.

I’m sure I have a few more stories that I need to tell, but I’ll save them for a little while and show you some moments from our getaway.

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