Several times a year I travel to Tennessee with my kids. I have been doing this for the last 17 years. No matter where we have lived I always made it a point to take them to the farm to visit their Tennessee family.
When they were toddlers it required frequent stops and lots of placating. Things haven't really changed that much.
Instead of packing a diaper bag I now have to make sure everyone has all their chargers. Through blurry eyes the night before we leave I attempt to figure out which charger goes to what device. Phone chargers, Ipod chargers and portable DVD players must all be ready to go. There must be at least two options of entertainment at all times. More importantly there must be a car charger for their cell phones. If they go dead mid trip they will start to twitch and become very agitated. It is a scary sight I have seen it.
Snacks and drinks are a must but at least now they aren't slinging sippy cups full of apple juice all over the interior of the van. I really can't judge them on the drinks part because I am firmly convinced that my van will not start if there is not a diet coke in the cup holder.
It takes a lot more to fill them up now than it did when a small cup of Cheerios was sufficient. My brother Tony has Michael convinced that truck stop hot-dogs are the greatest thing in the world so he wants to consume at least two every six hours.
The music for the trip is a big deal. I usually try to get a book on tape because otherwise I have to set the timer on my phone and alternate between Ashley's Taylor Swift collection and Michael's "stripper pole music". Notice a third option for me is not included in the music rotation.
If either of them have to go to the bathroom at the same time on the trip I will consider that a full blown miracle and will alert the Vatican. Usually one bladder is lagging behind the other by about 100 miles.
But I have learned over the years that no matter what the emergency or how many times we have to stop we always end up with one classic story from the trip and a few new favorites songs. I am going to try to enjoy every minute ..even the stripper pole music...because soon they will be grown with jobs and families and attempting to travel together will become very difficult.
So on Friday I will attempt the impossible. I will try to travel 12 hours with three teen-agers (Michael is bringing a friend) and savor every moment. I will let you know how it turns out.