Holiday road trips sound so magical, don’t they? Winter scenery, bonding time with the fam. In theory, it’s the merriest, most magical time. In reality, not so much.
My daughter’s birthday is just five days shy of Christmas, which is a nightmare of planning and disappointment for all involved. There is no way to make one holiday magical, let alone two holidays magical, in just a single week. We were determined to do just that one year and planned a holiday road trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan.
An ice storm coincided with our “magical” trip.
OF COURSE IT DID.
There was an ice rink outside our doorstep, so we had to link our arms tightly together just to try and get down the steps of our lake cottage to see attractions. My husband spent the entire trip with an iron grip on the wheel, color drained from his face, as we braved the treacherous conditions to give our kids the best little holiday ever.
Although we made many memories, the biggest memory was that it is stupid to plan trips in December in Indiana. What in the world were we thinking?
Here are a few other things I’ve learned from our road trip fails. Laugh with me and learn from me!
No Matter What, You Better Show Up
I had a baby on December 19th and there was absolutely NO MERCY for this poor mama and her brand new baby to not show up for the holidays.
“You are coming, right? We all just want to see the baby!”
“Well, I’m sorry you chose to have your baby three days before our gathering, we still expect your presence … and a dish.”
It was infuriating, but this is family. I still showed up, but wished that I had said no and squeezed in some sleep instead. Setting boundaries with your family is tough, and the expectations are always the highest around the holidays. Do the best you can, but don’t be afraid to say no … especially if you just had a flipping baby.
The Great Pillow Freeze
Have you ever rested your head on a soothing block of ice? We have! And it’s not so soothing at all. When we travel over to grandma’s house, we have to pack all of our stuff to stay the night in order to be there for gift-opening in the early morning. One year, we left everything out in the car and didn’t bring it in until we were settling in for the evening. Big mistake. What my husband fetched from the car for us to curl up with were not so much pillows as solid ice packs. Each time I rolled over, I shrieked as my face tried to melt a corner of the pillow.
Moral of the story: Bring your stuff inside right away, so you don’t have freezing cold pajamas and ice blocks as pillows after your road trip adventure.
Someone Will Always Be Sick
We were en route to Christmas dinner when suddenly my son said, “PULL OVER RIGHT NOW! I’M GOING TO THROW UP!” It came out of nowhere, and we were already almost there. We arrived to Christmas as the LEAST wanted guests. I spent the entire holiday in the bathroom with a glass of wine next to my kid as he hurled in the toilet.
I may have been crying.
Maybe there really ARE years when your family really doesn’t want you around? If someone gets sick, as seems to happen so often with us, you just have to roll with it. You knew it wasn’t going to be that magical anyway, so do the best you can.
And next year, skip the road trip and head to the beach instead!