Westbound and Down
My first resolution of the New Year is that I am NOT going to drive 1605 miles over the 2014 Christmas holidays to visit our older kids and other family. It wasn’t just the miles that got me. It was the entire process of getting ready to go that far. I should restate that I am NOT going to fill my Pathfinder with four children, one husband, enough snacks for a year, three months’ worth of crossword puzzles, pillows, blankets and games and travel 1605 miles. Nope, my resolution for 2014 is to save enough money to pay for THEM (whomever they may be) to come to me. I will pay for their travel. I think this is a great resolution.
My second resolution is that I am going to teach my children how to sing in the car. They were pathetic on the trip. Dad and I could belt out a song – at will – on any given subject. Our little technology dependent children just screwed their plastic ear buds tighter into their ear canals. They missed out on “Eastbound and Down, loaded up and trucking,” which we both thought was a great way to begin the trip. Changing it to “Westbound” was clever but no one noticed but us.
If the kids came out from under a pillow or actually removed an ear bud, they were greeted with song or crossword puzzle clues. Sometimes, they surprised us and gave a correct answer. Now and then, they used their little technology boxes to fire up Safari and look things up for us. We also inserted as much geography as possible. “Hey, look kids, we are crossing the Mississippi River.” The river discussion was pretty interesting because we could tie it to the civil war and Uncle Stan lives in Vicksburg, MS at the southern part of the river, AND we got to sing, “Old Black Water, Keep on rollin, Mississippi moon won’t you keep on shinin on Meeeeeee.” Dad got a little carried away with the river songs, but we still had fun.
We thought the evening time was perfect for old church songs. We entertained with “How Great thou Art” and I got teary-eyed. “I Need Thee Every Hour” sounded good for the first verse but we couldn’t remember all of the words to the second verse so we segued into “Sweet Hour of Prayer” and sang for an hour or more each evening. Each song we sang brought about another memory of our growing up years. Now and then a question would be launched from the back and we had an opportunity to share our lives with the kids.
Forty-four hours on the road (going and coming) and we listened to the Duck Dynasty Christmas CD at least fifty times. Now my youngest can all warble “Baby It’s Cold Outside” while racing his brothers in MarioKart on their DS games. We taught them to read the road signs because they can see the signs way before we do. They learned that “lodging” really meant “hotels” and that meant that if the exit were just right we might stop for the night.
We drove for two days, visited for three days, and then loaded back up and drove east for two days. The trip home was harder because we were tired and we hadn’t quite got the kinks out from those first two days of travel. About the time we roared past the Bristol Motor Speedway, the old truckin song, “Six Days on the road and I’m gonna make it home tonight” was drug out of our memory bank and sung by all. We were going to sleep in our own beds for the first time in seven days.
All in all, a long family trip at the end of the year is a GREAT way to make memories for many years to come. I am thankful that we made it home safely and that we got to see our kids, grandkids and parents.
My third resolution of the year is to make sure I stay in touch with family and friends in 2014. Nothing is as important as staying in touch. I don’t mean every second of every day, but over the year stop to say, “I love you” or “You are important to me.”
Of course, one must be careful not to stay too in touch or THEY will think you are going to pay for them to travel to your house next Christmas.