Today I have a little story for you. This is a story based on real events that occurred last week.
If You Take Seven Kids on a Cross Country Roadtrip
If you put seven kids in their carseats they’re sure to ask “how long till we get there?”
When you answer their question “three days” they’ll be sure to moan and complain and ask for a snack.
If you give them a snack then they’ll want a drink to go with it.
If you give them a drink they will need to take a potty break…every half hour…for the whole trip.
When you stop for a potty break they are sure to ask for time to play.
If you give them time to play then someone is bound to get in a fight.
When you end the fight and order them back into the car there will be much moaning and carrying on.
As you get back in the car you will discover that the Air Conditioner is no longer blowing cold air.
When you realize that your AC compressor that has been making a lot of noise has finally died you will roll down the windows.
When you’ve had enough of the noisy kids, wind in your face, and sweating you’ll decide to stop for the night.
Then you stop you’ll discover that you are in a tiny town with a less than impressive selection of hotel rooms.
You’ll end up in a not so lovely motel room with a teeny tiny bathtub barely deep enough to cool down the one year old in.
Once you get the kiddos cooled down it will be time to get them in bed.
This will require many repeatings of “LAY DOWN AND BE QUIET!” as they wiggle and giggle enjoying the adventure.
While trying to get the one year old to sleep she will smack you in the face scratching your eyeball.
After just a few hours of sleep your alarm will go off so that you can get everyone back in the car before the heat of the day really hits.
Day two will be filled with more snacks, drinks, and potty breaks along with about 50 million “how long till we got to…?” type questions.
As the sun comes up you will discover that your eyeball is hurt enough that you can no longer keep it open, and you are now driving with one eye closed.
When you can’t handle any more heat blowing in the window you will once again stop for the night.
As you pull into the parking lot your engine will die and the car won’t restart.
You’ll decide to wait till morning to see if it’s just overheated.
When you get up at 5 in the morning the car will start, but immediately start rattling and smoking.
You’ll call around and discover that there aren’t any mechanics shops open until 8 am.
You’ll go back to your room for a few more hours of sleep only to discover that your children are all wide awake and ready for breakfast.
After you fill their tummies you’ll start calling mechanics shops.
A few hours later you’ll be back on the road, still without air conditioning.
Then it will start raining.
When it rains you’ll just get wet, because that’s better than shutting the windows and frying.
After another full day of whining, snacking, drinking, peeing, and fighting, you’ll bribe the kids with chocolate if they will just be silent for a few hours.
Once they’ve had enough chocolate they will all fall asleep.
At about midnight mom will need a potty break. You’ll discover that there is nowhere to stop for about 40 miles, so you will drive 7 miles in the wrong direction to get to a bathroom.
As you are returning to your route you will get pulled over by a policeman who would like to inform you that the light on your license plate is out.
When the policeman pulls you over he will want to inform you that he is also from Georgia, and tell you all about road tripping with his doge and his 6-year-old daughter who likes to beat up her 11-year-old sister.
When the policeman finally stops talking to you, you will continue driving a little over an hour and finally arrive at Grandma’s house at 2AM.
When you try to get your kids right into bed they will be too excited and you will once again have to threaten immediate death to anyone who can not be silent.
After you enjoy your visit to Grandma’s house you will once again be cajoling seven kids into their car seats while listening to “how long till we get there?” and dreading what is going to go wrong this time on the three-day trip home.
It’s All About Perspective
I will fully admit to shedding a few tears and doing a fair bit of “woe is me” complaining in my head. You see the last time I made this trip six years ago my AC and power steering went out during the trip, 2 of my then 3 kids got sick, I also was sick, my debit card got shut off, and our 3 day trip turned into 4 adding a fair bit of expense that we hadn’t planned for. Once I arrived my transmission went out so we just sold the car and flew home. That isn’t really an option this time with seven kiddos, so I’m stuck having to repeat this experience, hopefully with a few less mishaps, in a few weeks.
In both cases I have a choice. I can choose to focus on all that has gone wrong and be miserable, or I can choose to search for the blessings in the midst of trial. When my car dies on me I was in a hotel parking lot. It could have been the middle of nowhere on a close to 100 degree day. Instead of being stuck waiting for a tow I was able to move my children into a safe comfortable place with very nice and helpful staff. We were blessed to find a local mechanic who was fair, honest, and got us fixed up and back on the road as quick as possible. I was INCREDIBLY lucky to have my father driving with me. He helped pay for expenses, drove when I couldn’t keep my eye open, and kept me cheerful and laughing when things looked their worst. It also doesn’t hurt to have him say “Do you want Grandpa to be mad at you?” and have the 2-year-old instantly quiet down and go to bed! The biggest blessing has been seeing just how much people in this world love and care about my family. There has been so much concern and support expressed. My mother started a GoFundMe to help get our car fixed up before heading home and the overwhelming outpouring of monetary support has been overwhelming. Not to mention all the beautiful sights we got to see along the way.
With every trial we face in life we have the choice. We can sit and complain and wallow, or we can look for the lessons and the blessings. I have had to learn to be a bit more humble and accept service and help. I have been blessed with love and assistance, both emotional and financial. I can’t change what happened, but I can definitely choose how I react. I choose to react with gratitude for all that went right, despite this trip going so horribly wrong.
I’d love to hear about your worst, best, funniest, etc. road trips! Come join the Muchness Mamas Facebook Community and let’s chat!