Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Traveling with kids vs. without.

There's no question, traveling with kids is a major pain in the ass. It takes twice as long to get anywhere, you can't listen to Howard Stern in the car, and your pit stops are frantic, pull off the road, stop anywhere ordeals based not on whether there's a gas station with diesel or a Chipotle but rather on whatever shows up first when someone has to pee.

You hear yourself say things like, "I have a water bottle. Think you can get your penis out of your pants without undoing your seat belt?"

You give your two year old a bag of Skittles just to help him pass the time.

And find yourself singing along to kids' music. Kids' music.

All this and your vacation hasn't even started!

Checking out the history along the way...

Once you get to your destination, if our case a wedding weekend in Mississippi for one of the most wonderful couples we've ever known, then the fun really begins. Or at least it's supposed to. And it would. Definitely. If we weren't so busy making sure no one fell in the lake or caught someone's hair on fire with a flaming marshmallow at the rehearsal fish fry, or helped himself to a chunk of uncut wedding cake or Mommy's "Sprite" at the reception.

Chaos must be kept semi-contained at all times when you travel with children. Or at the very least, appropriately located. Stunt falls near the band can be easily passed off as dancing, but let that slip near the bar or the buffet and you are seriously out of line.

Of course timing is important, too. By the point in the night when the grown ups' dance moves are starting to resemble stunt falls (and people are stripping down and jumping in the pool...), kids can get away with just about anything. But sadly, by then, they are sound asleep back at the hotel.

(Or butt naked jumping from bed to bed. Whatever.)

There is no chance to discover great local restaurants or cafes when you travel with children because it's infinitely easier to fill up at the Holiday Inn's complimentary breakfast buffet.

But here's why traveling with kids' is awesome. Because that crappy hotel breakfast? It's the best thing they've ever had. Dry Frosted Flakes are amazing. And the hotel room? Which is just, like, you know, a hotel room, inspires a huge sigh upon entering and my six year old to say, "This is the life..."

Kids force you to experience things you never would have seen if you had been alone, sleeping in and enjoying a good cup of coffee and a leisurely breakfast.

At the Mississippi Children's Museum.

While us grown ups need a lot to be wowed or impressed - a gorgeous couple getting married on the steps of a historic family home, an over-the-top reception with great food and drinks and music and friends - kids find the wonder in EVERYTHING. 

Finny and I were playing on the grass at the fish fry when he rolled over onto his back and gasped. "Mama!" he said, pointing up at the sky. "What's...that?"

I laid down next to him and looked up. It wasn't a bird or a plane but a perfectly clear, star filled sky. "Oh, baby," I said. "Those are stars."




"No kidding."

It was a gorgeous sky, like nothing we get to see in Nashville. Would I have even noticed it on my own? It was absolute perfection laying there with my baby on the grass, looking up at the sky and seeing it like I never have before. Because stars, when you're not used to really seeing them, are kind of amazing. And when people started lighting lanterns from the dock and sending glowing balloons into the starry night? Finn and I could've sat and stared forever.

Definitely one of those times I wished my eyes could take pictures. Fortunately we managed to snap a few real ones along the way.

And just because it cracks me up, look how similar Liam and I look in the next two photos.

With Miss Courtney Jaye at the reception (he refused to dance until he found her)
On our last vacation - Manhattan Beach, CA.

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