It’s Day Seven in our new home, and that alone should tell you a lot about what it means to travel across the country with Baby, Dog, and a carful of “necessities”. See below for said desiderata:
[Speaking of the Dog, Atticus was a champ. From Georgia ticks to delayed pee stops to the grouchiest of back seat companions, he withstood it all.]
We thought we were intrepid for venturing to Europe with a five-month-old, but I can honestly say that any street cred we have earned as traveling parents was done so on this road trip. You reach an entirely new level of exhaustion when the purpose of your journey isn’t one of leisure, but migration: repeated packing and unpacking, consumption of garlicky hummus in close quarters, the %*$#@ inaccuracy that is Google maps. Then there’s the telltale scent of a diaper blowout on a stretch of barren road that means, sob, an atop-the-trunk change is a foregone conclusion.
As a couple, however, our biggest challenge was reconciling our traveling differences. We thought this relationship milestone was far behind us: we know we are both adventurous eaters, museum gluttons, and always eager to save a buck as long as it isn’t at the expense of experience. We know Kenny approaches life (and the anticipated outcome of last-minute travel preparation) with an attitude like this:
And we know that I expect any hotel reservations not documented in advance by spreadsheet to end like this:
Of course, the reality, as with most things, is somewhere in between. But when you’re tired, down to dessicated clementines with nothing but Taco Bell on the horizon, and Old MacDonald has started to populate his farm with seahorses and grandfather clocks, you can almost convince yourself that your partner planned for all the La Quintas (they’re dog-friendly, don’t judge) in Savannah to be full, for the one in Charleston to have been recently vacated by spring break coeds with stars in their eyes (just…don’t touch anything), and the one that you finally stumble across as darkness falls to only have smoking rooms. (How? What? Really? Just gross.) You also come thisclose to believing your partner has conspired with your child to make back seat duty immeasurably less desirable than piloting the car. Preternaturally, your six-month-old has achieved the developmental milestone of intent and developed a talent for chicanery matched only by the %*$#@ inaccuracy of Google maps. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS STEER BUT I HAVE TO SIMULTANEOUSLY SING, FEED, NAVIGATE, AND FEIGN FASCINATION WITH MY FINGERS.
Again, this is largely false. Long-distance driving is physically and mentally exhausting, and I knew Kenny’s back was already in bad shape from the move. He always volunteers to drive–always–and still manages to open the door for me at every pit stop (and there are many, because he is perpetually patient with my porous bladder). And if I was really THAT tired of juggling Baby and GPS, a mature adult would have eschewed the sniveling and simply asked to swap roles for a few exits. Martyrdom isn’t becoming, and it doesn’t make Floridians better drivers, reduce hotel rates, or clean gas station bathrooms.
Sending a little love to the DD might, though.