It seems I can't shake the habit of turning the world I see into narrative.
It started as a hairbrained idea. Instead of driving or flying to Michigan we would make it about the journey and rent an RV. Just me, my sister, and six children.
Yes, I said six.
No, we are not currently undergoing treatment for out Pollyanna view on life.
In fact, it went well. So well that I am ready to share some tips for anyone else willing to travel 2770 miles while outnumbered 3 to 1.
~ Prepared Meals: Hungry teens are prone to eating the souls of younger siblings. To avoid this we prepared & froze all dinners at home. This made dinner easy and we didn't have to forgo fun to prep and cook. This and lots of snacks kept the younger ones from irreparable damage.
~ Insurance Cards: Word to the wise - when one child comes down with strep throat, others will follow (50% of the kids). Moodier than a menopausal woman questioning her career and life choices is a tween with strep on-set being teased by her unknowing family. Squash it with antibiotics quickly! Or suffer the glare and tears at your own risk.
*addendum: It's important to note that a day of antibiotics drastically turns the tide.
~ Ear Plugs: Bring board games and cards. Lack of internet will give kids looking for some down-time a renewed interest in shared activity. Yes, they are loud and playfully arguing over the merits of 3 of a kind versus a straight but they are bonding darnit! What's a migraine to the joys of our children?
Keeping them plugged in while driving may be the coward's way, but is a highly effective sedative & noise reduction technique PACK CHARGERS!
~ Develop Codes: Ours was "DOOR DOOR DOOR!" Which means: slow the hell down.
Well, it developed quite naturally as we pulled out of a rest area and the door to the back began swinging in the breeze... Seems the rear door must be locked while the RV is in motion. A lesson, one would think, once is enough to learn... But we are only human - and to our credit it only happened 3 times...Which seems excessive - but statistically with all the stops and starts, rest areas, and gas stations it's really quite...okay I'll shut-up now.
~ Plan Memories: We planned stops, outings, and adventures. We did them. Kids laughed and had new experiences.We revisited favorite spots and saw family. But I'd bet $$ that when they are older and have their own kids they will get together and talk about the crazy trip their mom/aunt took them on when cousin J was declared "fine" after an overnight in the hospital because the rope swing broke. Oh well. At least they'll remember something.
All-in-all our Pollyana view worked-out and we only slept in a scary parking lot once...