One line I never thought I would hear in my own car: “Mom, turn your music down!” This line was from my pre-teen son yesterday. We were driving west on the turnpike through Pennsylvania for our family vacation (heading to Ohio and Chicago) and Shelby decided our music was interfering with him listening to his own music. The adults were listening to soundtracks from Broadway (Mamma Mia, Hairspray, and Rent this trip). He was evidently not impressed with our music choice or the volume of our singing along with the tunes. He was also not amused by our car seat dancing.
I remember going on trips with my family growing up where we would take turns picking the radio station and take turns riding the hump – having to take the middle seat. We read or played car games – like keeping track of states we saw license plates from or playing “I spy.” We had some good times in the car but we also – my two sisters and I – had plenty of disagreements. “Don’t touch me!” “Move your foot!” “Get off my stuff!” These were statements heard many times in our family car. We never killed each other and somehow survived as friends. So that was a good thing.
I travel with my own family now and we have done car games and sung songs for years. Now we have technologically advanced traveling. On this trip we had 3 cell phones, 3 laptops, 1 GPS, 2 Kindles, 1 set of headphones, 2 video cameras, 2 power adapters for car lighter plugs, 2 iPods and enough power cables/cords to string up lights at Christmas. We also had the unique thrill of trying out the 3G hotspot my phone offers. So my son was on Facebook as we travelled down the highway. When we started getting tired we looked up hotels, made a few calls, and got a deal on a room. It was quite fun. It’s a whole new world for travel.
But we also spent time just talking. We talked about past trips, we talked about future vacations, we talked about politics, and we talked about our lives. It was some dedicated family time in a confined space. And for that I am grateful. We are only on day 3 of our vacation and we have more to go on this trip. Getting away with my family is a privilege. And I am grateful for the opportunity. We will have a great time, eat too much, spend some quality time together, try not to spend too much money, make some new memories, and probably get a bit tired of each other, too. But it will be fun. We will continue to grow as a family and learn more about each other. And that is never a bad thing.