Like many people, our Thanksgiving tradition includes a road trip. The drive from Phoenix to Los Angeles is between six and seven hours, depending on how often you stop and how fast you drive. The beginning of the trip always starts out with a lot of excitement. Eager for the journey ahead, spirits are high and there is constant chatter over what awaits us at our destination. Batteries are fully charged, bags are filled with fun stuff to do and snacks are plentiful. The trip has begun.
An hour into the trip, we get our first “how many more hours?” The answer isn’t a popular one, but it’s accepted and they easily go back to their movie or game of the moment. During the middle of the road trip we are surrounded by open roads and desert for as far as the eye can see. There are few places to stop which makes it easy to keep going, moving forward and all the while getting closer to our ultimate destination.
The last two hours are always the hardest. Surrounded again by the comforts of a city, there’s an anticipation that any of the exits could be “the one”. Legs are starting to cramp and tempers are starting to flare. Snacks are no longer a special treat and everything to do has turned boring. Inevitably we get stuck in traffic, which slows the trip down even more. ‘Are we there yet’ becomes a banned phrase that can no longer be uttered by any human within the confines of the vehicle.
When we finally arrive, all the excitement and energy from the beginning of the trip returns. Hugs from family members erase any tension that built up over the miles. You can finally take a deep breath, there is comfort simply in the fact that you have arrived.
As we were driving, I couldn’t help but think about how the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are also like a road trip. You start off excited and happy. Somewhere in the middle, it gets harder and you wonder if you are going to make it. You want to pull off the road. Obstacles get in your way that you down. You may have to take an unexpected detour. When you are in the middle of the trip it’s easy to feel like you are never going to get there but through it all, but your destination remains the same.
I hope you are packed and ready to go. Set your GPS and if you have to decide between two routes, let your heart be your guide. The road trip to the holidays starts today.
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I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.