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This year’s spring break arrived far earlier than I expected! I swear I just took down the Christmas tree, and here we are, facing one week with no school, nor planned activities or child care! How could it be spring break already?

Seriously?

I have to do this again? Last year at spring break the husband was laid off, on the first day of break no less! We had planned a trip back to my home town, but, that fell through due to a sudden loss of income. 

But this year, the husband is employed and scheduled to work out of town during spring break.

So, what’s a mom to do?

GO ON A ROAD TRIP WITH THE KIDS!

Because what else can you do when have a need for childcare (mostly so they don’t kill each other)?

Yes. That’s exactly what I thought! A road-trip is exactly the cure for this predicament

So.

I rented a car, called my family and said “Get ready, here we come!”

And then I drove, half way across the country, with my kids, to visit family.

Yes. I said “half way across the country.”

Crazy, right? RIGHT!

I haven’t been home in two years. I missed my siblings, and I wanted to see my dad, my aunt and uncle, and my cousins. I wanted to be in my home town, with my kids, showing them the awesome places I hung out at when I was a kid.

I packed up 3 suitcases. Well, I packed one, supervised what went into the suitcase for the younger kid, and hoped the older kid packed the items from his list of “what to pack.”

I scoured the house for cords to DVD players and handheld gamer things. I found DVD’s that were suddenly remembered from “their younger days” and I found CD’s that I didn’t know we even owned!

I packed all that stuff into back packs and assigned each kid a back pack full of electronics, cords, movies, cd’s, ear buds, ear phones and snacks.

Then, I got my atlas. I looked at the large map of the United States highways in the front of the atlas. The whole map spanned across two pages. I placed my finger on the dot of my current town, traced the highway systems across 5 states to my home town.

I have made this drive over 2 dozen times in the last 20 years. I really didn’t need the map. I knew the gas station I would stop in before we left our current state. I knew which hotel we would stay in two states away, our half-way point.

I made the necessary phone calls to my family. Told them our expected arrival time.

And then. I did it.

I drove halfway across the country. With my two kids. Just us.

Just me and them.

Thirty minutes into the drive it started.

“He touched me!” (One child was in the back seat, one child was in the front seat)

“I’m hungry!” (They were fed just before we drove away)

“Mom, I left my phone at home!” (The phone was in my purse, I placed it there myself)

“Mom, did you pack my swim trunks?” (Yes, I did. For both kids)

“Mom, when do we get there?” (In two days, remember I told you that?)

“How far are we going?” (Very far. Far, Far away)

“Are we going to the airport?” (No)

All the questions. All the many, many questions.

The drive was long. The drive was hard.

We sang to all the 80’s hair bands, we belted out rock ballads, we sang to oldies and all the new boy bands. We practiced singing Bohemian Rhapsody in falsetto – every verse.

We told stories, made up jokes, told old jokes, burped the alphabet, talked about friendships, dreams for the future, what college is really like (yes, Mommy will send you cookies no matter what). We talked about cars, different kinds of space travel and even politics.

After one night at a hotel to regroup, download new music, and re-pack our electronics and snacks, we got on the road for the longest part of our trip.

We arrived at my dad’s house right on time.

But we lingered in the car for a bit, not really wanting to break from the amusement and friendships recreated on this trip.

Deb Burke

I grew up in the picturesque town of Madison, Wisconsin. That's the only normal thing about me. I also grew up in a family shoe repair business and soon learned that child labor laws don't apply to family businesses. I left Madison to finish college in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here I became a spelunker, a cyclist, a mountain trail runner, an avid hot air balloon watcher (much to the dismay of the drivers behind me) and quite the connoisseur of green chili cheese burgers. Eventually, I fell in love, had 2 children, bought a house, and then got married (in that order). Life is certainly crazy keeping up with my two boys!

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