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road trips


Listen To The Mama

    Travelling with a family is difficult. Not impossible, but certainly not a bed of roses. However, there is one rule of thumb that I've discovered to make this challenging event a succes: Listen to the Mama. It's not that men can't plan a lovely vacation or getaway.... it's that they simply cannot plan at all. So, knowing this, I took charge of packing my suitcase and those of the children (layers for cool AND warm weather, as well as dressy AND casual events), I made the traveling schedule with very regimented break times (don't even tell me you HAD to have that coffee, which you and I both know will go right through you), and I included "car supplies" complete with games, toys, pillows, snacks, and the appropriate amount of fluids so that everyone would get their needs met without exceeding my scheduled break times.
     On our trip, Cameron was amazed at the new sights. "This is a pretty country here in Michigan...", he exclaimed as he peered out the car window. "Cam... we're in Ohio... it's not a country, it's a state... and we're in a construction zone. But I appreciate your enthusiasm," I answered.  Due to my impecable skills as a wife, mother, and overall human being (too far?), we made it to Michigan in 5 hours and 15 minutes with only one potty break. And let the record show that I forgot nothing.... now, the kids may have unpacked a few items after I already packed them in their suitcases... but that can hardly fall on my shoulders, now can it?
     Because we listened to the Mama and we left Thursday evening, we were able to spend Friday relaxing with family and friends without the stress of needing to unpack, or feeling too exhausted to visit after a long trip. We took our time socializing on Saturday before going to my cousin's wedding. This was the first wedding the children had been to. Both were extremely excited and had TONS of questions about the festivities...
     "Why are they not boyfriend and girlfriend anymore?" (Cam)
     "Because they're married now." (Me)
     "What's married?" (Cam)
     "It's when Jess and Jason go from dating to being a family." (Me)
     "Are we married?" (Cam)
     "Pappy and I are married and you and Taylor are our kids...we make up a family" (Me)
     "Why are they dancing together?" (Cam)
     "Because they just got married and this is their first dance together." (Me)
     "Looks like lots of people got married today 'cause they're all dancing out there!" (Cam)
     "No, Cam, only my cousin got married today... everyone else is just celebrating." (Me)
     "Why do those people have the same clothes on?" (Cam)
     "They're in the wedding party... they're here to support Jess and Jason." (Me)
     "Are they married?" (Cam)
     "No, just the bride and the groom." (Me)
     "What's a bride and a groom." (Cam)
     (Ah, shoulda packed a Valium...)
     "A bride is the girl getting married and the boy is the groom." (Me)
     "Huh?" (Cam)
     "When Pappy and I got married, he was the groom and I was the .......?" (Me)
     "Broom?" (Cam)
     "No, the bride." (Me)
     "What's a bride again?" (Cam)
     "Oh, look, it's time for you to go dance!!" (Me)

     And then my kids danced like maniacs for about 3 hours. Cam nearly knocking down a polka-dancing elderly woman, and Taylor having seizures to the beat of the music. It was really a lovely time and I was so glad to have the kids there. On the way home, some people weren't listening to the Mama (ahem, Cameron and Taylor) and some people ended up crying more than one time during the lengthy car ride (Cameron). And then some people proceded to be hyper and act out once they arrived home, causing the Mama to yell (just a little bit) and cry (just a little bit). I spent some time lecturing Cameron on the importance of listening and following my directions, because I was pretty sure that one day it could save his life (even if that means that I'll simply refrain from killing him myself at some point). BUT, that being said, I was impressed that we all survived the journey. And I'm pretty sure we all can agree that it was due to this gal's magnificent skills.
    Unfortunately, today I woke up sick, my car broke down, and I had to miss half a day's work.... BUT, because of my son listening to the Mama after our talk last night, he came home with the first good report from school in a long time and informed me that he was "ready to start listening better". So, despite the million-questions asked at the wedding, and the hitting in the car, and the broken candle holder once we got home.... despite all that, I count it all a success. Because my son learned the #1 rule: Listen to the Mama!