As we drove away this morning, from the house, the play dates, the camps, the wildfires and the whole nine yards, I reminded myself of my strategy this year.  This drive we do every year, the one from Denver to the lake in Wisconsin, it never gets shorter, nor changes much.  But my approach is different this year, so this morning when we started I had hope for less whining and more Scrabble.  Less fast food and more lattes.  My strategy was simple, and it was based on a conversation I had with my cousin Chris about small children and travel and how to make the best of it.  We discussed how much better things seem to go when you just put away your People magazine and decide to focus on the small people instead.  Just surrender your expectations entirely and be there for your children.  In doing so, you can give them the space to entertain themselves once in awhile, instead of always clamoring for attention at every turn.  I planned to implement this approach on our flight to Asia in a few weeks, but the drive to Wisconsin seemed like it could make for a good test run.

So off we went, me behind the wheel of our completely overloaded Prius, stuffed to the gills with the fruits of my China prep…14 months worth of probiotics for all four of us, and 4th grade textbooks and a gallon of peanut butter and sunscreen for a year.  And it was all going well for the first two hours, and I was all Zen and ready with my sticker books and word searches ready to go to town with the kids…until Eden turned pale and started emptying her stomach of everything inside.  And I couldn’t do it.  This was taking the plan a bit too far.  So though I had JUST sat down in the passenger seat, I had Ernie pull over and I got back behind the wheel, let Ernie deal with the calamity in the back seat and I.  Just.  Drove.   Until it all passed.  And she was magically fine two hours later.

And eventually there was Scrabble…a lot of Scrabble in fact.  And even a latte. And luckily the drive is two days, because redemption is coming my way tomorrow.