It’s worth it!
A long due road trip is finally materializing and you are feeling confident about handling all eventualities with your checklists. Fuel tank filled up? Check. Kids’ snacks packed? Check. Toys of the 2 year old? Check. Barbie bag for the 6 year old? Check. Directions? Well, who needs those!
After all the careful planning and last minute running around searching a matching pair of socks (am I the only one whose socks always go around swapping partners?), you are out of your parking lot just an hour late as originally planned. And that itself is an achievement that you are proud of.
You are weaving through the traffic to get out of the city while passing blame to your wife. We could have avoided all of this if only you had got the kids ready in time. Knowing very well that this statement is going into some cold storage and is going to come back and haunt you at some point. And when you are about to join the highway and preparing to cover up for the lost time, your 6 year old asks, “Dad?”
“Are we there yet?”
The dreaded question. The one that you wanted to avoid as long as you could. The one that signals tough times ahead. At least your 2 year old is happy with all the dogs and cows on the road. But very soon he realizes that there is not much changing in the scenery outside. And then it doesn’t take long for the siren to start.
Now even if you point him to a duel between a dinosaur and a transformer on NH-4, it won’t help.
You have to now dip into preparations to engage him and you start with his favorite music — the Baby Doll song. You play it three times in a row while trying not to read too much into his choices at this young age and imagining his future. It keeps him distracted for a while but eventually this too passes and you need to find some other way to entertain him. Your wife goes for the next item from the reserves.
‘Where are the blocks?’ she asks.
I told you yesterday to pack his blocks.
Oh, i thought you said fox.
Ok fine. Where is the fox?
I didn’t pack it because he never plays with that toy.
Silence. Only from wife. (Remember the cold storage?). Siren continues.
And you realize at this point, all the meticulous planning that you were proud of, counts for nothing.
By this time the 6 year old is hungry and already going thru the snacks and drinking lots of water! So you know what’s coming. And you are forced to take a break much earlier than planned.
You are not even one third into your journey ad you have already gone thru all the entertainment options, pit stops and snacks. So next couple of hours are just a daze — with overlapping sounds of music playing on the car stereo, constant background siren and non-stop chants of ‘Dad I am bored’.
Eventually things settle down when the young ones finally doze off and you start seeing light at the end of tunnel. Rather you start smelling the sea. Suddenly things are not as bad. Roads have become wider, less traffic, nice greenery with cute mud roads after a recent shower, lots of coconut trees and the coastal warmth in the air. Sky looks different and even people walking on the roadside look relaxed.
And you are thinking ‘What an ordeal to get here! But it was worth it’.