Ah. The joys of parenting. It seems like just yesterday I was a stubborn teenager saying I’d never say the typical parenting things. Now I find myself wishing I could go back and say them more.
I can easily recall my first road trip as a mother with a then weeks old Aidan. At the time I lived in Rhode Island and my extended family was all in Connecticut. I bundled up my perfect little baby boy and loaded him into his car seat. It was just the two of us. He was probably around 6 weeks old.
I drove a blue Volvo S60 at the time. The drive time from Warwick, RI to Hamden, CT was about an hour and a half. I perfectly timed it so that Aidan was fed and I could drive straight through. Hahaha. Silly me.
It was raining. Before I even made it to the RI border Aidan was screaming. I mean, really screaming. Flashbacks to my younger sister Alicia passing out from hysterically crying when she was a baby filled my head. (My poor parents. Alicia did this multiple times and I remember them calling 911.) I had one of those backseat mirrors so I could check on him and his little face was tomato red. Did I mention it was raining hard??? I had to stop the car in the middle of this monsoon and somehow get into the back seat to take him out and try to calm him down. As I pulled over to the side of the highway trucks were flying by. I climbed into the back. My heart was racing. I sat there holding and rocking him, thoughts of a tractor trailer losing control and crashing into the car taking over the space in my head that baby Alicia had just occupied.
Clearly, we both survived. We made it to CT and back and would go on to do that drive many more times before moving to Vermont where I would make a slightly longer drive with Aidan, now a toddler, and Zach who was born two years later. With two boys two years apart, I quickly went from “I need to pull this car over” to “Don’t make me pull this car over.” It was pretty much part of my daily routine. Add in the twins and two step kids for a bunch of years…you get the picture.
We’ve road tripped to Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Tennessee. (All multiple times.)
Some trips we’ve had company. (Please see previous posts for background if you’re new to this blog.)
We road tripped many times in Alaska. It was here, Aidan and Zach now aged 10 and 12, that I replaced “Don’t make me pull this car over” with “If you two don’t quit it right now I’ll start talking about the day you came out of my vagina.” Very effective. I highly recommend it.
We road tripped because it was cost effective, fun, and adventurous.
We road tripped for roller coasters, vacations, family, friends, and major moves.
We’ve gone from booster seats and juice boxes to calling shot-gun and energy drinks.
There are movies I’ve heard at least a dozen times as they played in the back seat that I’ve never actually watched myself. (Talladega Nights. Need a Ricky Bobby line? I got a few.)
Fast forward to earlier this year. Aidan, now 18, has his license. He was gifted a car from his Aunt Alicia, who, we should note, no longer passes out when crying. (Not that I know of, anyway.) It was an older model Honda Accord that has seen its fair share of bumps and bruises. In what can easily be described as the scariest moment of my life, I watched as all four of my children loaded into that car and drove off, without me in the driver’s seat.
I have since helped Aidan get a newer car that I feel a little better about mechanically and safety wise, but I digress. My point here is life moves fast. Some days you will wish you could tap the brakes and slow it down. Some days you will wish you could speed it up. Some days you’ll wish you could throw it in park and just idle. It’s okay to pull the car over. Someday you will miss it.