Our vacation this summer is going to be spent at my mom and dad’s house in Somers Point, New Jersey. They live in a marina in a not totally kid-friendly house that is close to the beach. It is an all-around awesome place, except for the lack of kid-friendliness and the fact that they only have three bedrooms and not enough beds to house the seven people in our family without blowing up some extra sleeping arrangements. Fortunately, for space reasons, my parents are in Mexico for the first two weeks of our visit. For the last few days of our trip, we will all cram into the house, go to the beach, celebrate the 4th, eat and drink together and basically remind one another why it is good for children move out of their parents’ house when they grow up and have families of their own.
On Wednesday morning at 1 a.m. Kid E wandered into my bedroom and climbed into my bed. About an hour later he informed me that I could take him back to his bed because he was no longer comfortable. About an hour after that my alarm went off, signifying the incredibly early start of our very long travel day.
“Let’s get this party started,” I mumbled, 98% sarcastic, as I dragged myself out of the warm bed and put on my clothes and pulled my hair up into a ponytail.
By 3:45 a.m. I was easing out of my Georgia driveway with Kids A – E fully seat belted inside, an insane amount of beach gear zipped into a gigantic Thule bag on the roof, and too many bikes racked onto the back. I may have looked like Jed Clampett, but I felt like The Bandit, (North) East bound and down, hopeful that I could avoid the Smokeys as I hauled ass along the I-85 and I-95 corridors.
As far as long car trips go, this one was really good. We stopped just north of NASCAR’s Mecca (Charlotte) for some breakfast, but that was our only break other than one pit stop for gas (the kind that makes the car run) and one “I have to poop right now!” false alarm from Kid E when we were just 60 miles from our destination. So, it was really two gas pit stops (LOL: fart joke). The traffic was fairly light, road construction was minimal, and the Po-Po must have had a Beef and Beer Fundraiser somewhere else, as they were not occupying many of their standard access road hiding spots along the highways.
We pulled into our destination just after 5 p.m., very ready to stretch our legs and eat some dinner. Luckily, my mom is awesome and she left two trays of lasagna and two pies for us to eat. I stuck dinner in the oven, enlisted Kids A, B, and C to carry our gear in and unpack, disassembled the bike rack, and detached it from the trailer hitch. Then I proceeded to sit on a beach chair and do nothing while the older four kids rode their bikes, RipSticks and scooters around the gloriously flat and virtually car-less street out front, all while Kid E squirted everyone with water guns.
I said another silent prayer of thanks for our safe arrival, the minimal in-flight fighting and “Are we there yet?” queries, and for the ability to put the pedal to the metal and make it here in just over thirteen hours.
Then I did some quick math in my head, figuring that I had basically been up since the middle of the night. I realized that one of my kids is a new swimmer and another can’t swim at all and we are staying in a house that is surrounded by water. The kids had car trip fever and they had now begun fighting and trying to run each other over with their bikes. Sheepdog is not due to arrive for another whole week. How am I gonna do this all by myself?
So I opened a bottle of wine and proceeded to drink the whole thing.
Wish me luck for tomorrow…