For the first time in about 8 years, my mom’s side of the family (well, one of my mom’s) decided to all get together this year. And they are doing it in a four-bedroom cabin in Tennessee. This cabin is just over the river and literally through the woods from my mom’s house in Walland, TN and the cabin is located just this side of Gatlinburg, TN. So, from my mom’s house to the cabin, it’s about a 40-minute drive.
Originally, CareerMom and I decided we’d go up there, stay at my mom’s house at night to give the boys better sleeping arrangements, and then drive over to the cabin each day and spend time with family. However, as the time has drawn nearer, this has seemed less and less like a great idea. For one, my youngest slept almost straight through the night for four nights in a row. This is unprecedented thus far and it is believed by many that dragging him up to Tennessee, where he’d have to sleep in a hard pack-n-play, would ruin whatever miracle schedule we’ve stumbled on. (Author’s Note: Since that four-night sleeping stretch, he’s had two nights of waking up twice, and then four times another night). Also, the car trip. If you’ll harken back with me to the Beach Trip of 2007, none of us were looking forward to spending 4 ½ hours up and down in the car, plus 45 minutes of gut-twisting back and forth turns through the woods to get to the cabin.
So as CareerMom and I lay by the fire the other night, we both confessed how little we were actually looking forward to this trip. Out of that came a plan: I would take our oldest son and go, while CareerMom stayed behind with the baby. There was really no way I could get out of going altogether given that the family made an effort to gather, but we both felt that taking the baby would only be a burden on everyone’s efforts at having fun considering the problems we have getting him to sleep in strange places. (Author’s Note: We took our oldest son down to the beach when he was four months old and despite constant admonishing while he was napping, people continued to yell and bang around and so he did not sleep and was miserable. Same bunch of people, same situation here).
I called my mom to break the bad news and she was, as expected, disappointed. But as I dug deeper into her disappointment, it became clear to me that really all she wanted to do was show off the baby. It was pretty clear that the rest of us coming was secondary. See, she has this little competition with her youngest sister whose daughter has two children. It’s all about whose kid is the cutest see and she’s built up my youngest son to epic proportions of cuteness and now, she’ll have no proof. She also didn’t seem to buy my excuses, which are very valid and since she’s never raised a child, not something she can relate to.
At one point, she compared my youngest’s traveling issues with her sister’s daughter’s children and pointed out that since they are “in church all the time” (pointing out that we aren’t) her children are used to it. I pointed out, quite annoyed at this point, that having a child around other people in no way compares to traveling with children. Our kids are in daycare all day. They get along with people fine; they just HATE car seats, and they don’t sleep well in strange places.
If you’re in your fifties, and you raised children, you did so in the era of vans, during a time of built-in beds and tables and no car seats. Traveling then was a breeze compared to now. Now, the poor kid has to remain tightly strapped into a nonmovable, hard plastic car seat, with sides that come around like blinders giving the child little to look at for hours on end. It was a different time and traveling today is just so vastly different from thirty years ago.
Suffice it to say that I hung up the phone with absolutely no desire to go up there whatsoever. And what really steams me is that this will be the third time I/we’ve gone up there since spring and they haven’t come here once. But they have the nerve to question my complaints about travel.
It’s the holidays folks. How about we just be happy to get to see each other huh?