I've been wondering lately about the availability of prescription strength 'mood lifters' in the Midwest. If this isn't possible, perhaps something nice in a Sedative?
In less than 40 hours, my family and I will begin a voyage across space and time, across the American prairie, leaving our comfy home and traveling in a car for 14 hours to see my husband's family. Yes. With a 3.5 year old and a 1.5 year old. And what little sanity we thought we had. For a family reunion.
Please don't get me wrong--I really do enjoy my husband's extended family. I just prefer to enjoy them a little closer to home. Say, within a 20 minute drive. And I have enjoyed the Rocky Mountains in the past. When we made the drive without children. I simply cannot imagine what this trip is going to be like. My stress level is off the charts.
I have had glimmers of eagerness when anticipating this trip. I optimistically bought a variety of children's books on clearance and stashed away matchbox cars and small toys in preparation for the car ride. P and I even fought briefly over whether or not a portable DVD player would be procured for our trip, but he won and we're driving without. We've tried to structure our driving around the schedule that our children normally follow and I'm packing healthy meals similar to what we would be eating at home so the kids' systems aren't burdened with salty, fatty, processed food they aren't accustomed to. I've done everything in my power to assure as enjoyable a trip as possible, including an overnight stop at a nice hotel with a pool.
Tonight, however, while laying out and organizing the distractions I've arranged for the children I realized one thing.
That it's madness. Absolute madness.
It's insane to think that any amount of books or gadgets is going to distract my kids from realizing that they are not in Happy Vacation Funland but, in fact, strapped into carseats for hours and hours without end. I mean, really? How do you get around that? I know they are going to hate it after an hour, that they are going to want the car ride to stop, and that they are going to want to be at HOME, HOME NOW, riding on their trikes. They are going to develop Restless Legs Syndrome, Tourette's, and possibly a rash and, by the way, I am pretty sure that whining will kill me or at least make my ears bleed.
I will try to be optimistic, and failing that, at least cheerful. A grumpy mama isn't anyone's idea of fun, least of all mine. And I know that once we get to the mountains that the kids will have a lovely time. My children continue to surprise me with the things they are capable of and I'm pretty sure they'll hold out as long as any toddler and preschooler could be expected to. A lot of my anxiety is simply because I have no idea what to expect of them. Can I expect a peaceful ride to Des Moines? To Rochester? To the end of our street? I just know that 14 hours of screaming unhappiness isn't tolerable to anyone unless you're medicated. Heavily.
"Though I say, 'I will forget my complaint,
I will leave off my sad countenance and be cheerful,' Job 9:27