Have you ever taken a long road trip with your family? Movies and television shows always portray these trips as the absolute worst kind of torture a family can inflict upon itself. Sure, everyone can get irritated with other, and someone always falls asleep and wakes up cranky, but there’s a lot to be said for spending time together in a small space with nobody to talk to but each other.
I thought about this yesterday as my girls and I were driving together on an impromptu road trip. My oldest daughter, Rebecca, had just returned to her college from a school trip to Nashville. Still on winter break, she was supposed to drive home in her twelve-year-old, dark green Saturn, a car which she hates but is the best car we’ve ever owned as far as maintenance. Twelve years on the road, and over 200,000 miles, and it’s never had an issue other than air conditioning finally giving out. But back to Rebecca… she arrived at school at 4am, texted me to let me know she was in her dorm room, and went back to bed saying she would head home around noon. When she woke up at 11:00 that morning, she looked out of her window to see that the mountains surrounding her campus were completely covered with snow, and the storm didn’t look like it was going to end any time soon. Her car was nestled in four inches of the heavy powder, and she dreaded the thought of driving her little car on the treacherous roads. So, of course, I got the call, “Mom, can you come get me?”
Meanwhile, the snow was really coming down here on the Shore as well, and schools were letting out early. I headed to town to pick up her sisters, and we hit the road. Three hours later, after driving through some pretty heavy snowfall on Interstate 70, we made it to the campus. For the next three hours, Rebecca talked about her trip – the people she met, the things she learned, how her deep faith had been strengthened even more. Her sisters shared stories about their New Year’s party and the first day back at school. I don’t think we turned on the radio even once, and no movies played on anyone’s electronics. Though Katie and Morgan took turns nodding off, we spent the entire ride talking to each other. Does anyone even remember what that’s like? To spend hours with other people just talking to each other?
It reminded me of the many road trips we’ve taken as a family. We have driven cross-country and back numerous times, to Florida and back just as many times, and to Boston and back twice. Sure, the girls had a DVD player in the back of the van for many years, and then they all acquired their own personal devices; but many times, we talked, we sang, we played games, and we loved it. Were there arguments? Sure. Did someone always end up poking, pinching, or punching someone else? Of course they did. But I don’t think any of our children would trade a minute of those family trips we took, car ride and all. We always looked at the ride as part of the adventure. Yes, we’ve seen the great Corn Palace of South Dakota, the world’s largest sandhill crane, and the world’s biggest concrete buffalo, and the girls still talk about every one of those things in addition to the many little museums and country stores we visited along the way.
What we learned on those trips can be applied to many other areas of our lives: you have to make an effort to get along with others; you never know what treasure lies around the next bend; there’s always more than one route to get to where you’re going, so choose wisely; don’t forget to look around and to take a break along the way; keep your sights set on your destination, but know that how you get there is just as important. If you’ve never taken a family road trip, I highly advise it. You never know what you might learn along the way.
Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks. Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon. http://amyschislerauthor.com/amyschislerauthor.com/Books.html