It doesn’t seem very long ago that family trips were a nightmare to organise, at least on the morning of the event.
I’m thinking here of not only the full blown holiday – of which I’ll count anything from the 2-3 day mini-break to a luxurious two weeks, at least in terms of days booked to enjoy which ever paradise of location had been selected, be that a hotel near the sunny coast or a tent in a forest – but also day trips.
It’s not the actual holiday, though that of course would have it’s thumb screw nerve tangling highlights. It’s the morning of the outward journey. The acting upon the previous nights agreed agenda and departure time.
I’ve always been the type of person who can get up at any particular time in the morning and I don’t need a ‘winding up’ period. I can set my mind to a time be that 5:00 am or later (anything after 6:00 seems like the middle of the day to me).
That’s not to say I’m a morning person as such as I’m equally happy going to bed at midnight. I’m also not in that small percentage who can get by every day on the sniff of a snooze – there has to be some balance somewhere or catch-up though I have to admit I do seem to need less sleep the older I get. Perhaps it won’t be long until I can drop my chin for a moment about 3:00am and then be fully refreshed.
I think my oldest boy is a little like me; though being about half my age his nights are a little longer than mine but he doesn’t need hours of bed time in the mornings to attempt getting a limb over the mattress edge. My other boys are not quite as proficient as him and come somewhere near my wife who lives for sleeping, her day is geared once out of bed, for the moment she is back in and cosseted within the duvet.
So you can imagine the scenario of most trip mornings with the boys in various states of readiness; usually half asleep and not aware that Dad has a schedule. Mum keeping her cool (just) whilst Dad gets more and more frustrated by the blank looks he gets when he tries to give his sons (and wife) a timely reminder that in order to arrive by the deadline in the chosen location the car needs to leave the driveway by exactly this time…
This of course leads to said sons rebelling against the dictator and going even slower than before the edict which in turn raises Dad’s blood pressure a little more and gives Mum a slight eye twitch.
Somehow we always managed to set off on time, not always with all the luggage (it’s a tradition in all families I think to leave at least one thing behind – as long as it’s not a family member!).
Our youngest son was the hardest to organise as he liked to take his whole room with him including pillows to make the journey bearable, a good supply of books, comics, games for his hand held games devise of choice, videos, teddies etc. This always annoyed his siblings a little who were then squashed into their seats surrounded by his junk (their words not mine).
We did try to make things easier by getting bigger cars with our Chrysler Voyager people carrier the biggest and most luxurious. The car was brilliant if a little elderly when we got her but driving ‘Bessie’ was like being in control of a small living room on wheels. And if we put the boys at the back we could barely hear the screams and battle noises of car journey sibling rivalry.
Unfortunately she developed a terminal engine malady that meant our last trip in her helped me develop the skill of watching the road with one eye and water temperature gauge with the other and praying to every deity known to man (and a few I made up just to make sure). As a staunch atheist this meant crossing a few belief boundaries but it was either that or just putting my faith in blind luck.
She was a very thirsty beast that last holiday and barely made the part exchange date once we were back. I did love that car but my nerves were a lot better once we’d watched her being driven away and no longer under my ownership!
These days things are different. We still have the same trips but the boys don’t always come with us – one has a life of his own with girl, car, home and a baby on its way and the other two prefer not to be forced into days away or holidays where Mum and Dad ‘enjoy’ those shops that sell other peoples used stuff.
I have to say (and I accept this sounds very middle aged, which of course we are) we quite like trundling around charity shops, especially if they are in ‘posh’ towns where rich people give their ‘junk’ away for charity – that doesn’t explain why every shop, be they in Wilmslow or some ultra poor city centre, Daniel O’Donnell is king in the CD selection….
And I have learnt to relax and am more flexible with the departure time which in turn helps smooth the leaving ceremony with less anger and tears; I will at least now allow a one or two minutes variation, well most of the time.