Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for No! (by Cindy Ash)

For this year's A-Z Challenge, I am organising my writing group's participation for the first time. So I am posting each entry here as well as on the website, Write On, Mamas! who are a writing group based in the San Francisco North Bay area. We will have 25 Mamas and one Papa writing on a different letter of the alphabet during the A-Z Blog Challenge. Comments are always so appreciated here or it would also be lovely if you would comment on the Write On, Mamas! blog. Thanks and look forward to reading your blog.

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.


  1. Only 732 times during a 10-hour road trip? Lucky you!

    One word : Medicate!

  2. Wow you count, 732 is some kind of record.

  3. Love it...my kids would say, why aren't we there yet!

  4. I still say 'are we nearly there yet'? On long and short journeys...and I'm an adult!

  5. "Why aren't we there yet?" Oh, I would hate that question even more! Thanks, all, for the support!

  6. I tell people over and over on my travel blog to do themselves and their kids a favor and not do the tune out method of traveling. They're really missing out. Car time is the best one on one time you can have. Playing car games is always far better then tv. They play the video games and watch tv at home. Make the trip, different..make it special.

    I love SC, where about you staying?

  7. I refused to get the home theater minivan and when I set out on the forced march tour of the southwest, guess what? They can remember the drive through the Navajo nation, four corners, Northern New Mexico, Texas. Not crystal clear, but there are landscapes that stick, much more than Finding Nemo. Plus I gave them maps (not google maps -hadn't been created yet!) so they were in charge of mileage and navigation. they did have GameBoy but I held on to the chargers! Still complained a fair amount though.