I had dodged this vacation for 2 years now. It was time to put my big girl panties on and enjoy the experience. Traveling together and being immersed in every little second of each other’s life was a bit much at times. There were highlights, lowlights, and plenty of memories that were made during this family adventure.
We survived the week long, 2,300 mile road trip. All kids are accounted for and my sanity is in place…..well, what is left of it. There were a few minor meltdowns…….I bartered deals at gift shops and avoided buying tiny, useless crap that would lose itself in my car seats. I caved at gas stations, buying new crayons and color books. We learned that laughter from the backseat usually was followed by gaseous fumes.
Siri informed me that there IS such a thing as a Walking Cactus. For the next 600 miles, I worried about my husband’s fascination over tumbleweeds.
1. Drove through the Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert allowing Diva Child to earn a Jr. Ranger Badge.
2. Watched the Sunset at the Grand Canyon without a single child falling over.
3. Rode a Train for the first time…. and thanked God there was a potty on board.
4. Perfecting ETS…..Emergency “Toot” System…..If you dealt it, please roll down window without nasty comment for the sake of all held hostage in the vehicle.
1. Had to endure the painstaking task of answering all those questions in the Junior Ranger workbook at the Petrified Forest……and then not losing it when Diva Child swore we passed the exact log we needed to stop at to complete page 6……”It’s called a forest for a reason, honey….plenty of petrified wood here…no worries!”
2. Realizing I left the camera’s SIM card at home.
3. Following my obsessive, picture taking husband around 5 different vantage points of the Grand Canyon…..muttering to myself that it looked the same as the last stop.
4. Not speaking up while at Carlsbad Caverns, when husband asks, “Who wants to hike back up the trail?” ……..instead wondering if I could make it to the elevators before they realized I was not behind them.
1. Teaching my kids that those pretty shaped linen napkins need to be shaken out before you lay them on your lap.
2. Watching my teenage son’s eyes bulge at the site of the largest buffet he’s ever seen. (One of the reasons for the ETS being put in place. See Highlight section above.)
3. Teaching my kids to play Uno…..without cheating.
4. Listening to my children and realize that they do actually love each other.
All for Them
I made this same trip 2 times when I was a kid. I remember bits and pieces……like a short film playing in my head. The Grand Canyon, was a hole to me. Nothing more, nothing less. It is still a hole and I am sure not much has changed since I last went. But, what had changed was ME. I realized that I needed this road trip more than anyone in my family.
Walking around the Canyon’s rim, I actually noticed how the crisp, cool air whistled through the trees. I noticed how other families interacted…..some were paranoid of falling head first over the side……while others bravely ventured out to rocky points, just to get a better glimpse. I finally admired the beauty that I failed to see twenty-eight years ago.
On this vacation, there was no rush. No schedule. It was just us and we took advantage of the down time to explore. I embraced this as a time to see the world through my children’s eyes and help create their memories of Spring Break 2014.