Time Warp

Guest Post by Terri Lydon (http://redfacedmama.blogspot.com)

As anyone who has traveled with young kids can attest to, it’s all in the planning.  You need to be sure you thought through and predicted all possible outcomes, and planned accordingly.  If you did not pack medicine, it is guaranteed your child will get sick at 2am.  If you packed for winter in Chicago, I promise you will come across the only heated pool complete with built-in slides and a slushy bar and you will need a swim suit.  And if your plan was to order room service for dinner, there is a 85% chance the hotel’s kitchen will be closed at that hour.

This weekend, my kiddos and I headed to Michigan for a family wedding.  The ceremony was at 4pm MI time, which is 1 hour later than Chicago time (I was prepared for this hour change).  I decided we were going to drive out the day of the wedding to enable naps to take place…if we drove out the day before, there is no way my kids would nap which would result in them turning into sloppy puddles around 7pm.

Here was the plan:

– 7:30am: Auntie was sleeping over, so she was going to take the kids to Dunkin’ Donuts.  I would shower and get myself ready.

– 8:00am: Eat breakfast.

– 8:30am: Pack the car.

– 9:00am: Get the kids ready.

– 9:30am: Leave for MI.

– 11:30am: Get lunch.

– 12pm (which would be 1pm MI time): Arrive at hotel.

– 1pm-2pm: Relax in room, unpack, etc.

– 2pm: Get ready for the wedding.

– 3pm: Leave for the ceremony which was about 30 minutes away.

Here’s the reality:

– 7:30am: Auntie has the kids buckled in the car, and calls me to tell me the car dashboard is lighting up like a slot machine and the car has locked itself in “park” and will not budge.  We are not mechanics, so we press buttons and start and stop and car, turn it on and off (like a phone, right?).  Crap.

– 7:45am: New plan.  Auntie is going to get breakfast sans kids while mama just says “CRAPCRAPCRAPCRAP” silently to herself and makes coffee.

– 8am: Auntie texts that she can’t park at Dunkin’ Donuts (apparently everyone in the area decided it was donut day.  Bastards.)

– 8:30am: Auntie is back with food.  Coffee is ready.  Breakfast is consumed.

– 9am: Auntie takes the kiddos for a walk while mama starts the process of moving the car seats to her Camry.  Now, being a very safety-minded mother, I of course bought the super-safe seats that lock into place in multiple places.  Straps.  Clips.  Belts.  Needless to say 1 hour later with Auntie’s help both car seats were finally secured.  Car is packed.

10am: Mama showers.  Gets ready.

10:30am: Kids are ready.

10:45am: Off we go.  As we head toward the freeway, I explain to John and Annie what it means to be “rolling with the punches” which they think is just the best thing ever!  OK, so at least I am still in an happy-ish mindset…

We stopped for a very fast lunch at some point…but this is where the time-warp happens.  We find the hotel, and have to bring in all of our bags (kids + bags + parking lot + no “check in” parking = insanity).  We check in and get to our floor and see another wedding guest…dressed and heading out to the ceremony…it’s 3pm.  WTF?????

We get in the room and I announce “TAKE OFF YOUR CLOTHES AND GET DRESSED!”  Everyone’s confused.  OK.  That made no sense.  (1) Take off your clothes.  (2) Put on your wedding clothes.  FAST.  FAST.  FAST!!!!!!!!!!  And then of course my dress was cut too low and I had a plan to safety pin it.  However, attaching a safety pin to your own clothes when you are stressed and rushed does not work well.  For eff sake.

Took 1 picture of the kids to prove they were quaffed:

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We raced to the ceremony in full NASCAR style, parked in the chapel’s driveway (completely illegally) and walked down the aisle 3 minutes before the procession.  I’ve heard it’s all about your entrance 😉

The kids were all wound up, and were having a hard time sitting still.  I was too.  At one point, the priest said if anyone couldn’t hear him to raise their hand.  If you could hear him but didn’t want to, raise 2 hands.  Well, I’ll let you guess what John did.  Twice.

So much for thinking and planning.  Rolling with the punches.

Ants On The Tracks

A focal part of my relationship with my niece and nephew is reading.

Sure, we do a lot of tickling, and kissing, and hugging, and chasing, and shoulder rides, and laughing.  There are water slide parks, and cheeseburgers, and train museums…and other things, too.

But, every time I visit them, I bring them each a book.  And, every time I put them to bed, we read.

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So, it is no surprise that traveling with them involves books, too.

First, there is deciding which books they will bring on any given trip (they are allowed three each).

Then, at each gift store we visit for each train museum (our trips usually involve train museums), there is deciding if they will buy a book or a toy, and which one.  I love that they are completely torn by the decision: to them, a book is just as tempting as a toy.  It is so gratifying to see them struggle over whether they want a new book or a something that beeps and lights up and moves.  They fully understand the magic of books:  books are magic carpets that can take you to new and exiting lands where you’ll join new friends on an adventure of sorts.

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Finally, there is the joy of reading the new books when we get back home, and, in a very real way, reliving the vacation a little bit.  The book becomes a special kind of magic carpet, that no only transports us to the places within its pages, but ALSO has the power to transport us back to our vacation.  It becomes a secret ticket that only has that power for us, the people who were on the original trip when the book was procured.

Last summer we went to the Wisconsin Dells, and visited two train museums.  We got the book, “Ants on the Tracks”.  Every time we read it, we of course visit the ants on the tracks.  But, we also get to remember the whole vacation: water slides, fudge, trains, pools, duck boats.  Go figure — all that in a book about ants on a track.

I am incredibly passionate about books.  And travel.  And spending time with my niece and nephew.  When all three of these activities marry, I am absolutely giddy with joy.