We have hit that place in time where we are starting to get invites and action items for activities past our departure date. So what has been strange this week is the fact that we aren't going to be here to participate in things that we would do in our normal life. It is weird because while the calendar looking ahead doesn't have much on it…..it is strange to not really know where we will be or what we will be doing or who we will be meeting. It makes the thoughts of the journey ahead somewhat interesting. This week, I have been more intentional about my interactions. Who I am making time for and what I am not doing in our normal routine as a way to make time to continue to prepare and pack for this trip ahead. Starting to unplug from things here in my current life.
One of my favorite things about a road trip vacation that my family has taken many of in the past is the moment when you all are finally packed in the car and we are finally ready to take off. As a mom, I love that feeling of accomplishment of getting 5 people packed and loaded in the car and the house cleaned up and errands ran. It always feels so chaotic the few days and especially the few hours prior to leaving on a road trip. I run around with my head cutoff, multitasking, checking items off our travel list of must haves. I run up and down the stairs several times with bags and suitcases. You are taking out trash, finishing laundry, cleaning up around the house so you come home to it somewhat picked up. You pack coolers and bring snacks and water bottles. You help the kids gather movies, games and small toys to play with in the car or at our destination. You adjust the thermostat, throw out food in the refrig, get the mail key to the neighbors, water the plants really well, etc. So many things to do and all busy work that happens just hours before the departure. Often times I get in the car and feel like I just did a crazy workout or something. The best part is pulling out with all your precious people contained in one place, in your own bubble of safe space to journey on the open road together for the day. And for me as the ring leader, I lay my head back on the seat, take a deep breathe and ask God to protect us as we journey down the highway. Keep us safe and sound….getting us to our destination to enjoy.
As hard as a road trip can be, I have always loved having my family in the car together. You can control the distractions, you can engage in fun dialogue, you can rest and just look out the window and daydream. We often read books out load or ask each other deep questions. As a mom, I love having this time with my kids without all the influences of other people and the outside world. There is something so magical to me about getting my family loaded in the minivan and heading out to enjoy family / friends and other places. We have been taking the kids on road trips since they were small infants. We mostly head up north to Dawson's family in Minneapolis or to my family cabin in the Colorado mountains. Both are long days and lots of miles on the road. But there is joy in the journey. The kids for the most part seem to enjoy them too. We get the typical, "are we there yet?", or "I'm bored" or "I have to potty again". But all in all it is a really amazing feeling for me to be in the car with my family. You're in the world exploring but you're in your own bubble.
I don't know if loading up and taking out in the RV for an extended period of time will feel like the short minivan road trips do….but if it does….. I'll gladly take it. I love that feeling.
I am sure it will feel chaotic as to some extent now only 17 days away ….it already feels like I should be doing more but some of what I still need to do and plan to do before we leave….needs to wait even longer. So today, I sit here and say it is exciting to think ahead, mixed with the anxiousness and chaotic feeling of getting this clan out the door. And this time when I load the vehicle….I get to take my coffee pot, toaster, and other kitchen gadgets. More blankets and pillows than our normal trips plus homeschool books / materials….and so much more. But what I am mostly trying to do is stay calm, be present in each moment and enjoy the preparation and document the thoughts. I feel so blessed to have this amazing opportunity and I really want to make the most of all of it….even the chaos of getting us out the door. That's what it feels like - blessed bliss!
Let the good times roll,
PS- I should ask my kids to write how it feels for them right now...stay tuned. We'll see what they say.