Tomorrow morning, long before the sun comes up, we are embarking on a (possibly) ill-conceived Thanksgiving roadtrip to Ohio. My husband is off picking up the rental car now. When he gets home, we’ll pack and load it and then, with any luck, all of us will retire early. Our alarms will go off at a ripe ol’ 3 a.m. and we’ll stumble downstairs, into the car, and onto the highway.
I’m trying my hardest not to be all Bah Humbug about this grand adventure, but it’s hard. Ten hours in the car isn’t my idea of fun under any circumstances, but then you add in a toddler and a baby in utero who likes to play bongos on my bladder and I can’t help but wonder whether we’ve made the right decision.
This will be the first year in ages that we’ve embarked on any major Thanksgiving travel. In recent years past, we’d gone to Boston to see friends but that’s just a few hours away, practically a local trip. This is much bigger than that.
We’ve been thinking through what and how to pack. We’ve planned our departure at that obscene hour to both avoid traffic and maximize the number of hours our daughter will spend unconscious and unaware between here and the Great Lakes. Once she wakes up from a late afternoon nap, we’re going to mosey over to the local toy store and get some new bribes, I mean toys, to surprise her with when she gets antsy and hope that they will be enough distraction to keep us all going. I would pack the laptop and her favorite movies, but unfortunately, we learned on our last holiday trip home that that will cause projectile vomiting. Let the good times roll.
When I expressed my wariness about the trip via Facebook status this morning, many friends and family members quickly came to my emotional rescue.
From a friend with a toddler and who is also due just two weeks after me: “Ours was 10.5 hours today and wasn't as bad as expected. You can do it!”
And, “We did 12 (approximately) to North Carolina this summer with two toddlers and three adults and it was really fine. Good luck!”
And my personal favorite, from a fellow Returned Peace Corps Volunteer: “Don't worry - I lived in a mud hut with no electricity or running water when I was pregnant & L was under a year. It was a 12-hour drive on poor roads to get to town to buy groceries. Women & children are adaptable. I'm sure you'll be fine.”
Now if that doesn’t give you some perspective, nothing will. And suddenly I feel quite silly for worrying or complaining at all. Our trip will be fine tomorrow and because we’re willing to brave it, we’ll be spending our favorite holiday with loads of family, nieces, and nephews, including our newest niece who is just 3-weeks old.
And if the trip isn’t fine, well, we’ll survive it. And a couple years from now, we can look back on how ridiculous we were and simply vow to never do it again. Either way, we’ll get a good family memory out of it and isn’t that what the holidays are for?
Are you traveling for Thanksgiving this year? What are your best tips for traveling while pregnant (and/or parenting), whether by plane, train, or automobile? Do you have any good tales of holiday travels past?