Traveling with Children

28 Aug

I’ve just returned from three days at my Grandmother’s house: four hours west of my city.

My mom and I took my older son, RJ, for a super quick visit to see some family and have a little break from his regular life. It was also a nice way for me to have individual time with one kid and Jason to have individual time with the other kid.

Last summer, we all went: Jason, me, my mom, RJ, and teeny tiny JP. It was an exhausting but necessary trip. There was nobody pointing a gun to my head telling me to travel, but I felt compelled to bring the newest member of our family to my grandma’s house: a journey I first made at three weeks old.

So we packed up five people, two car seats, one booster seat, a play pen, bottles, formula, a suitcase full of two sizes of diapers, toddler clothes, adult clothes, baby clothes, and a hundred other things, and took off for Dryden. It was exhausting and it wasn’t fun.

Traveling with small children, in my opinion, just isn’t fun. But you get home, look at all the pictures and think, “that was worth it!” Then you unpack, get a bit of sleep and think, “I’m glad we went!”

This year, the packing was considerably lighter. The suitcase of diapers was replaced by one portable potty; two car seats were replaced by one booster seat; no bottles, no formula, some toys, and just a few clothes for two adults and one almost four-year-old.

Despite the easy packing and the two to one adult/child ratio, it was still exhausting. It seems ridiculous that a long weekend trip just four hours away (to a place I’ve been a hundred times before), would be so draining.

Many people don’t realize how hard it is to travel with young kids. I always feel that a person with children past preschool age has forgotten their own difficulties. Or maybe they never traveled. Or maybe they were blessed with low maintenance and highly adaptable kids. In our household, and I’m sure many others, deviating from routine can be disastrous. Return to normal routine (and smoother sailing) can take days of poor sleep and whiny children; whiny children often lead to whiny parents!

So, we’re back and getting back to our routine. Just like last year, I’m looking at my pictures and thinking, “that was worth it and I’m glad we went.” I’m very glad my son was able to share the Dryden experience with me: hours in the car, junk food at truck stops, (Great-) Gramma’s house, the amazing back yard, the slightly spooky basement, visiting relatives, picking blueberries, and seeing the same scenes I myself have been seeing for the past twenty-nine years.

It wasn’t fun but it was necessary. Traveling with small children just isn’t fun but sometimes, funds permitting, it’s something you do because you have to.

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