Kris asked me for a list of stuff that I didn’t want to forget on our three-week jaunt to the east coast. I came back with swim trunks, sunblock, Zach, Kris, and Kristi’s special mix of gorp, which is really just Planter’s Dry Roasted peanuts and M&Ms.
She packed the truck while I was at work. I came home, peeled off my uniform, showered off the 105 degree day, and slid into the driver’s seat. We were off and we only forgot three things from my list.
We love roadtrips. In our scant year of marriage, we’ve driven from Alabama to Kansas, Missouri to Kansas, Oklahoma to Kansas, and California to Kansas. Kristi loves them because of the family time together: the talking we can do when there are important baseball games on the radio and the naps she can take when we’re in the middle of nowhere and no radio stations can be found. I love them because I get to pump gas and drink coffee.
This one was a special raodtrip, Zach’s first long distance adventure. Gone are the days of tossing the overnight bag in the backseat and hitting the McDonald’s drive through so as not to slow our momentum. Prior to our marriage, we made this same trek to the land of forests and Buicks, also known as Grandpa and Grandma’s retirement community in New Jersey. We drove through the night on that trip, made it in nineteen hours, a full three hours faster than my father-in-law. Mostly because Volvos are better than Dodges.
But now we had a little baby and a little SUV. We were obligated to stop and feed him every three hours. We had to change him once a day. We needed rests. We were going to stay in fancy, family motels along the way with numerical names like Motel 6 and Super 8. The motels would have good breakfasts and we’d be one of the millions of All-American families that couldn’t understand the motel clerk’s English.
As the miles ticked by on this trip and Motel 6 quickly turned into Best Western, I focused on a new view for this trip. Along the I-35, 70, or 76, I could look in the rear-view mirror and see my son. Most likely he was sleeping or crying, but every now and then, he had an interesting look. One that I could interpret. It went something like this:
“Dad, we’ve been listening to this insufferable Ayn Rand cd for about 12 hours. This is a debunked political philosophy and an even worse economic theory. You can go ahead and keep on listening to it if you like, but I suggest we change it to something a little more academic. Mom’s got a Rebecca Black cd, I think.”
“Dad, that was a great story about Jeff, Jean, and Jake, and I always like to hear about your roots and where you came from, but could we listen to some Ayn Rand? Oh, and I know it’s only been 11 and a half hours, but could I get a diaper change back here?”
“Dad, please get mom some more coffee. I’m ready to go for the next leg. I love you.”