Traveling has changed for me a bit over the years. I remember the wonderful time when Mom pretty much did it all. Then, I was single and could be packed and ready to go in about 15 minutes. Thirty-five if you include my shoe and makeup bag.
Then I got married. Adding in time to pack Dave's supply of pop definitely took the process up to about 45-50 minutes.
Then we added a dog, and packing time increased to an hour and change.
Then the children came. We added HOURS to the routine, and don't even get me started on the level of chaos and confusion that became part of leaving for a trip.
And now that we've added a baby......I can't even begin to estimate. All I know is that it takes YEARS off my life, and adds approximately 7 additional grey hairs to my head. (Yes. I said additional.....sigh.)
And the actual time on the road? Stops used to be easy and fast and trips could go by quickly. And now? I can't even talk about it.
But a few weeks ago, we hit a whole new level of chaos in traveling. We were on our way back from my cousin's lovely wedding. It was snowy, and we were worried about the weather and roads getting home. Having found out about a Caribou at an upcoming exit (thanks, mom), we decided to make a quick stop to get gas, food, and coffee. Drive throughs, kids staying in the car.....badda bing, badda boom.
In and out, that was the plan.
Except that when we stopped for gas, it woke Clark up. So he started screaming. And kept screaming all the way through pumping gas.
Next we ran to Wendy's. It was supposed to take approximately 3 minutes. Instead, it took about 10, apparently chicken nuggets are a slow item to order. Clark was still screaming, and through the sad cries, Dave asked Andy (in the way back of the van) to get him a bottle of pop from the cooler bag. While doing so, there was a crash, and Andy ended up trapped under the stroller.
I have no idea how that was possible.
But, after FINALLY getting through Wendy's, we whipped into the Caribou parking lot to get Andy out from the stroller. But, instead of going in through the back of the van, Dave decided to go in through the side of the van, over the top of Isaac, who was lost in a book and didn't want to stop.
Then there was a yell, and a large exhale of air, and I saw that Dave's feet had slipped out from under him and he had fallen on top of Isaac. Not to be distracted from his book, Isaac continued to read while being squished like a taco.
After getting his footing, Dave still tried to go at it the same way, Isaac still wouldn't quit reading, Andy was still trapped under the stroller, and Clark was still screaming.
Thankfully Dave met with more success that time, and finally, Andy was unpinned, Isaac unsquished (still reading), Clark was starting to settle down, and Dave offered to still get coffee. I declined, since this stop had already seemed to take forever.
However, Dave - still flustered from the whole experience, took a shortcut and turned into the Caribou drive-through, cruising right past the ordering mic, and around the corner.... where we were stuck waiting behind other people who had actually ordered.
For the love.
But after my blood pressure came back down to a normal range, Clark stopped crying, Andy was back in his seat, and Isaac was still reading, I just started laughing. Uncontrollably, with tears coming down my face. My children weren't sure if I was mad or sad or happy, or had just lost it altogether, but eventually they started laughing with me.
I may dream of the days of easy traveling, but I'm pretty sure I won't see them again for years. But, I'm wondering if these won't be the memories we all love reminiscing over someday. For now, though, I vow to never be stuck in a Caribou drive-through without getting coffee again.