|Photography by Mary Allison Tierney|
Every year we travel to South Carolina to spend a week on the beach with family. This year we will be able to drive rather than fly to our destination. My kids agree that ten hours on the road in our own car beats the daylights out of flying the red-eye. Nevertheless, I am under no illusions as to how that day will go.
The day before we leave I’ll pack the car with snacks and DVDs and iPods. The children will spend that day in their cushy seats in my air-conditioned minivan, on what ought to be their dream day of sacking out with electronics, at least arm’s length away from any other warm body.
On the road, I will answer, “No, we are not there yet,” approximately 732 times. The question will be asked for the first time sometime before lunchtime, even though they know we won’t be arriving at our destination before 4:00 in the afternoon.
We all have our “barefoot in the snow” memories of childhood travel. Mine involves riding in the bed of a pickup truck, with a two-inch thick foam mattress below and a camper top above for safety, on the way home from Helen Keller’s Alabama birthplace in complete silence while I taught myself to fingerspell the alphabet in American Sign Language. My mother, the seventh of nine children, remembers piling into the back of her father’s 1959 Chevy sedan with all of her siblings.
Sometimes I worry about the memories I am costing my children by making life too easy for them. But that’s when I’m at home. On the road I’m really just looking to reduce the number of times I hear “Are we there yet?”
Cindy Brown Ash is a lifelong writer. She took a hiatus from writing when she realized that her fiction required a better insight into human nature to become something worth reading. Motherhood has corrected that deficit, and Cindy is now writing as much as the children permit to make up for lost time. She has participated in the Mama Monologues with the Writing Mamas, and maintains a blog, Simply Richer Living, which aims to bring cohesion to the idea and practice of living a simple, productive, sustainable home life.