Sunday, September 23, 2012

there. and back. and there again.

(this is what you think a road trip will be like with kids...BEFORE you have kids:) 

in five weeks we traveled from:

okc to bellevue, kentucky 
from bellevue, kentucky to grand rapids, michigan 
from grand rapids, michigan to okc again 
and then from okc to grand rapids, michigan again 
and finally from grand rapids, michigan to bellevue, kentucky.

this was a lot of road tripping.  my kids don't particularly like road trips.  my kids rarely, dare i say, never sleep on road trips.  we even did one 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. drive and there was no sleeping involved.  the picture above was taken because it was such a rarity.  and lasted five whole minutes.

i never articulated this feeling, but i always operated under the assumption that if i provided enough DVDs, enough DS games, and enough fruit snacks, my kids should just ride in peace.  of course this assumption never proved true.  and of course in light of that, i got angry.  all of these factors made road trips not very much fun in the varela-mobile.  

this time around i decided to take a different approach.  i tried to start viewing my role as helping the kids pass the time.  maybe even entering into enjoying the time.  rather than my usual "do the least amount possible to make sure they're quiet" routine.  the results were amazing.  now of course i was not living out of this attitude during every minute of the trip.  but i did make some big changes that helped set the tone.  #1-i didn't bring anything for me to do.  that means no podcasts, no itunes playlists, no knitting, no nothing.  i was there to be with my kids and when they requested something or needed some assistance, i was available.  and therefore not annoyed.  and the end result was less anger, huffing, and general ugliness.  #2-i brought lots of stuff for them to do.  this was different than just loading them up on all the electronics and mind-numbing options i could think of.  i am not opposed to these on road trips, but have found over the years they only last so long.  my kids need more.  need to interact.  to get their wiggles out.  in a vehicle moving 60 mph.  we colored.  we played travel games.  we blew bubbles.  we sang to their music playlists.  we even had a family dance party.  rather than just isolating ourselves and trying to pass the miles, we actually like had fun and were happy to be on the road for some of the time.  

this is a fun story and even has some great tips for your next road trip.  but what i want to record and remember is this part of the story God has been writing in our family over the past few years.  this kind of shift is just one way i can communicate and remember the changes that are happening at a much deeper level.  we are choosing to be together.  not just be a collection of individuals that are in one family, but to be a family.  to see my children as my work.  not an interruption to my work.  


Christa Forsythe said...

hum... I so love your picture caption... it made me laugh... my kids NEVER sleep in the car... so road trips are long. We have one on Tues... so I've been planning and scheming for awhile... and I totally hear you -- I never bring stuff for me to do... I never have time ;o)

Becky said...

Thank you so much for your last sentence- "To see my children as my work, not as an interruption to my work." I pray that I will be able to put that into practice even this week. May God bless you and your boys with a great week too!