As a kid, my family would take one vacation every summer. Each one would start out from the back seat of our Buick, not an airplane or a train. We could count on the air conditioning to be ice cold and the drive to be long. We packed trendy zebra shorts, long striped socks and probably a tank top worn by our older brother. My dad would start off the trip by predicting the exact time we would arrive our destination (I found out as a dad myself how much influence he had on his prediction). One item we did not pack, nor consider; car seats. In fact, my younger brother would call “hump” which was the arm rest between the driver and passenger seats. There might have been seat belts in the car, but I believe they were tucked behind the seats. Hell, I remember one time lounging in the back window above the seats for a stretch down the interstate.
The trips were long. We traveled to South Dakota, Niagara Falls, northern Wisconsin and Milwaukee just to name a few stops. We didn’t have games or iPods or traveling DVD players. All we had was each other and our imagination. Not great, but we survived. Needless to say, our trips are different now that I am dad and in the driver’s seat. Let’s take a look at an upcoming trip…
My family and I just booked our vacation to sunny California for a late November trip to Disneyland. The drive is about 6 hours so I quickly figured; how many movies do I need on our iPad to entertain the kids? How many times will they want to listen to the ‘Lighting McQueen’ song? Can we get by with 1 potty break? One thing I don’t have to worry about is this conversation; Do not cross this line? or Stop touching me? or Get your feet off of me! These do not ring inside our traveling mobile because of one glorious, required item…the car seat.
The car seat keeps my kids safe and keeps them safe from one another. When they get a little older, I’ll remember to tell stories of how family road trips across country used to be. They won’t believe me and will wonder how we did it without whatever latest piece of technology is popular.
All in all, family vacations are about experiences. We’ll sing, laugh and have fun the entire time. Maybe we’ll even leave all of our electronics behind just to see how people in the ‘olden days’ used to do it. Nah…but it was fun to think about for a minute.