My wife, daughter and I, took our first summer vacation last weekend — all the way to the metropolis of Creston (nestled in the southwest corner of Iowa, about four hours away).
We had a wedding to attend, so we took off last Thursday afternoon and spent some quality time back in our hometown. However, unlike in the past, when we’d leave Thursday afternoon and arrive before dinner, our child presented some interesting hurdles.
In the past, my wife and I (king and queen of procrastination), would wait until the departure day to start packing. Luckily, we knew this trip would include a monumental amount of clothes, toys, diaper bags and strollers, so we started our adventure last Wednesday night.
For only being 10 weeks old, my daughter has already accumulated quite a bit of clothes. Since we have to pack at least two outfits per day (in case of spit up), my daughter and my wife’s clothes have slowly creeped into my side of the suitcase.
After it was all said and done, I was forced to find extra pockets in the suitcase to fit my second-class clothes. I wonder if this is a sign of the future.
On Wednesday night, I crammed suitcases, a stroller, toys and the rest of the house into the back portion of our vehicle, and we were ready for our trip.
By the next day, I was chomping at the bit to get back home and see family and friends. However, my anticipation was stalled, once my daughter had to eat at 2 p.m., and was not ready to go until about 2:45 p.m.
Before fatherhood, I was a stickler for time. I was never late, and I tried to be on time for everything (attempting the tough task of not being too early). And when I took trips, we had to leave right when my wife got off work and we wouldn’t stop until we reached our destination. No bathroom breaks. No stops for food. And definitely no sightseeing.
However, when you have child who has to eat every three hours, my rules become broken easily. Needless to say, our four-hour trip lasted roughly seven hours, once we ate and visited a family member. All we needed was to stop and use the restroom somewhere, and we would have broken all of my road rules.
The way back wasn’t much better, but once I recuperated from the weekend, I settled down and took in some interesting reading regarding summer driving. To my surprise (or maybe it’s because I’m oblivious), more and more people must have gaming systems or DVD players in the car while making a road trip.
While in middle school, one of my friends had an old-school VCR and a 5-inch television screen in his parents’ van, and we thought he was the only person in the world with that technology. It was great, but I’m assuming that device isn’t as sophisticated as they are now.
When reading about the cool new tools that kids and parents are equipped with now, I can’t help but feel sorry for my parents. When my family took road trips, we had no idea about electronic devices. We rode in a burgundy van, equipped with one bench seat and a huge back area.
Imagine three young boys, sitting together in one seat. It normally took about 5 miles before my oldest brother eventually got bored and had either my mom or dad screaming that we would turn around.
Generally, my parents would send at least one of us to the back (which I’m assuming is not legal anymore), and eventually another one of us would sneak over the bench and cause more trouble. However, I believe the threats made about us turning around and going back home wore thin, after about 100 times being made, and not going through with it.
I imagine by the time my daughter is at the age of needing more entertainment, my wife and I will crumble and heed to her demands. Let’s just hope by that time they discover a way to make sure my family moves a little faster to stay on time.
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. He can be reached at email@example.com.