truth bomb: road trip

So before I left on my first road trip with the boys (6 hours, Seattle to Bend) I was all...

Of course it could be a disaster but if you just buy enough things you can guarantee success. Leave nothing to chance. 

Just slather peanut butter on bread and slice the sandwiches into bite-sized nuggets. Pre-wash and slice grapes in single-serve baggies. Stock up on apple chips, cheese sticks, and fruit snacks, and spend an ecstatic 2 minutes poring over the cookie selection at the bakery counter of whole foods, your index finger floating back and forth over the fat, chewy cookies as if about to name The Chosen One. Well, The Chosen Six. Teen. Sixteen. 

Oh, and don't forget a crate of new books and toys! 

Chicken is going to work his ass off on this ball maze shaped like a train with a magnetic pen to guide the balls from one end to the other. Seriously, he will probably do that for like at least two hours.

Buster will giggle with delight when you break out the translucent rain stick full of brightly colored pebbles that rattle, shimmer, and dance on their descent. The soundtrack of your trip shall be the symphony of cascading pebbles, and pure giggling glee.

You shall play I Spy! 


You shall sing all the camp songs from your Girl Scouthood! 

You shall eat snacks that are not normally part of your life. Juice boxes for everybody! Why? Because AMERICA and ROAD TRIP

And when both the boys take a 2-hour nap in the afternoon, you will roll on down the road, listen to your frothy beachy scandal audiobook, pop the cap on an icy sparkling water from the cooler in the passenger seat, and enjoy one of your favorite things in the world: alone. 

This can all be yours. Just purchase and pre-package. Just anticipate anything your children could possibly need and be ready to throw it back at the speed of light, in the instant it's needed. 

You CAN manufacture the magic. 

You CAN, through sheer will, engineer success.


Now get out there and fucking own this road trip, mama!


You silly rabbit. Have you learned nothing about children in the last three years?

You didn't... No... You didn't actually think you could, like, handle this, did you? You thought you had control? Oh honey. 

So you packed cheese and peanut butter for car seat snacks? And you were, like, drunk, right? Like 3 Chardonnays deep? When you picked gooey and greasy? For the car? In the seats? With the straps that can't really be washed? 

Oh sweetie, that was so cute, the way you bought toys for the trip. The way you spent $100 at the toy store for a total of 18 minutes of in-car entertainment. That train ball maze was awesome though. Until Chicken insisted you give him detailed verbal instructions.

Well, you take the little pen, and you drag it across the maze.
Wait, no, first touch it to the ball. 
Wait, don't just bang the pen on the... 
Wait... No... Just... 

You should have started getting nervous when Buster plowed through 75% of his new toy bucket before you left the Seattle city limits. 

Wait, nope.

No, but you totally played I Spy!

And not only did you talk about geography, but you also even explained a 10-second elementary version of the water cycle! For an hour! 

Water starts in the air, as vapor in the clouds. When it gets cold it condenses and falls to the ground as a liquid, in rain or a solid, in snow. The rain and snow becomes lakes and rivers and oceans, and then the sun warms the water and it evaporates, which means it turns into vapor again and floats up into clouds.
... Water starts in the air, as vapor in the clouds...

Now that's what I call parenting, sister. 

But you had to know there would be no 2-hour double nap/parent's road trip version of a spa day. You had to know that as soon as Buster nodded off, Chicken would locate this little beauty from the bottom of the toy crate. 

You had to know that as soon as Chicken finally stopped screaming and started to surrender to the world's heaviest eyelids, Buster would wake up with a start and poke himself in the eye and for the next ten miles the soundtrack of the trip would be a duet of screaming and hiccups. 

You thought you wouldn't hit traffic? Because... You're special? And you, like, really didn't want to? Sugarplum. You left Seattle at 7:45 am. You drove through Portland at lunch. And you crawled into Bend at 5 on the nose. You could not have engineered a less efficient schedule. Unless you coordinated with POTUS. You had to know. You are an adult human. You can tell time. Right? 

Oh lord, honey. You had to know that no matter how many delicious treats you pre-packaged, no matter how many shiny new toys you squirreled away so you could fulfill all of your babies' deepest desires, you had to know that the one thing they hungered for most of all was to NOT BE STRAPPED DOWN IN A 5-POINT HARNESS FOR SIX STRAIGHT HOURS. And that, sweetie, was the one thing you couldn't give them.

You had to know. 

Oh... You didn't? 


Well bless your heart.


  1. I have done trips with amazing snacks and trips with no snacks and trips with new toys and trips with old toys and trips with the DVD player and ALL the screens and trips with no screens... There is just no silver bullet. It's all about luck

  2. And my comment box is very finicky... I meant luck with an exclamation point! I swear I wish I felt more prepared each time we took a trip but I always feel like I'm scratching my head when it comes to packing time...