We are going on a road trip. The children are excited. They get to see some of their favorite friends and eat too many sweets. The grown-ups are excited. They get to see their favorite friends and drink too much wine. After we have packed the blow-up bed, duvets, pillows, the co-dependent teddy bears, PJs, change of clothes, snacks, water, flowers, wine, beer and, of course, the iPad, we are ready to go! We all pile in the car and after the obligatory yelling, struggle with the seatbelt, wrestle with the sat nav and brotherly punch up, we are on our way! As we approach the first set of traffic lights, Boy 2 draws a deep breath…. “Are we nearly there yet?” And so the pain begins.
The time it has taken to pack up the entire house and squeeze it into the car, we have now left several hours after the original allotted time and have hit the rush hour traffic. As we crane our necks to see a queue of traffic as far as the eye can see, we know that we have hit gridlock. The boys begin to shuffle as there is quite literally nothing to look at but the motorway and a man picking his nose in the next car. At least this amuses them for several minutes. As the whining starts, I start to randomly lob various snacks into the back seats. Barely 10 minutes into the journey the car picnic has been demolished.
Are we nearly there yet? (er, just 3 hours to go)
Can I got to the toilet? (now where did I put that bottle)
Can I get out the car? (mad scramble to the door lock button)
Why can’t I see my eyes? (turn expectantly to The Husband for the answer)
Why can’t we have chocolate for breakfast? (yes, why can’t we? Life is so unfair)
Me: I spy with my little eye something beginning with f (field)
Boy 2: Table!
I bang my head on the dashboard and reach for the secret stash of chocolate hidden under the seat.
The service stations
The mood of the car considerably picks up at the mention of a Service Station pit stop. All feeling mildly queasy and strangely unsteady on our legs, we weave our way around the ridiculously dangerous car park full of delirious drivers. Greeted with fluorescent lights and the smell of yoghurt, all I can see are frazzled parents and hyper children. I feel an overwhelming urge to sprint off and hide.
As we maneuver to the food section, all chocolate, sugary drinks and crisps are shelved at the eye level of an average 6 year old. As if they haven’t been fed for a week, they grab at anything and everything. My eyes silently water at the cash desk as I hand over my credit card knowing full well I could have fed a small nation for the cost of one sandwich. We all head back to the car feeling a little more drained than when we actually arrived.
Yes, at last, we ARE nearly there! We have survived the traffic, the questions, the games, the service station and have reached our destination! The children are high on chocolate, low on movement and therefore eager to run around in circles in great excitement. Me and The Husband gingerly unfold our creaking limbs and wearily join the throng. Time for wine and some relaxing time with friends! Oh, hang on, just got to unpack the car, blow up the beds, retrieve teddy bears, calm the kids down, get them to go to bed, get them to go sleep………. Oh sh*t.