A three hundred mile trip can take about five hours. With traffic, it could be driven in five and a half to six hours. Add nine small children into the mix, and we are up to somewhere around seven hours. “Why all the math,” you ask. Well, because math is the first tool utilized when planning a long weekend… or mini-vacation… depending on who you ask.
This was a family trip you understand, otherwise I wouldn’t tell you about it.
Yes, everyone packed neatly into our fifteen-passenger van, each in their place. The children all had their own little bubble of space, all very comfortable… until someone had to use the bathroom. That was when it felt like the car had to be completely unpacked, only to be repacked once everyone’s bladders were empty. Come to think of it, once all the children were out of the van, that probably equaled about half of the contents, and all the valuables.
At last, late in the night, after a lonnnnng drive, we descended onto my sister’s house. I’m sure some would think that our entrance was like a clattering clan of pot banging monkeys. I would have liked our appearance to be closer to the quiet descent of a flock of owls. But, in reality, we sounded something more like a pack of sleepy pups; anxious for sleep, with a few short tempered growls, and plenty of whining.
With a few blow-up mattresses, a bunch of sleeping bags, and a rather large living room, we took any possible boredom out of my sister’s weekend. Not that we did much. We did take the children to the zoo, and my sister took us on a tour of the hospital she works in; but for the most part, we simply spent time together. And with nine children, that’s never dull.
So much time is spent working, or schooling for the children, that we loose a great deal of time with each other. A little vacation provides the ability to recharge our batteries, granted the adults are the ones worried about recharging. However, the children do want the extra time with their parents. Throw in an aunt for good measure, and they can’t loose.
The cliché is, “a good time was had by all.” But I think that is inadequate. Better to say of the children, “they came, they saw, they ate, they pooped, they slept, and they left!” … no, maybe the first was better?