I am writing from the back bench of what feels like an unusually empty and spacious suburban. Not empty spacious like I've never riden in a suburban, no, but empty spacious like there are people missing from the ranks-2 to be exact-as well as about 18 more bags, packages, and hamburger buns. But it is empty for the 14+ hour trips that our family is known for. With 3 kids in the family and grandparents that have lived 7+ hours away our whole existence we know how to travel well.
Do not be fooled, though. There is a difference between 'travels well' and 'travels lite'. And lite we do not. Traveling well implies that you can do the following 3 things well: 1) remember to pack enough movies that will interest at least 2 passengers at the same time, 2) remember to pack your electronic diaper bag, forgetting not the car chargers especially, 3) can hold your bladder for periods of time that under other circumstances would be humanly impossible. And don't forget BOTH of your pillows or your fleece blanket. Traveling lite implies that you take up no more space than the seat you occupy and have only one bag checked in the cargo. I really wouldn't know. I don't even travel lite when going to the mailbox. It does get out of control sometimes though. Like the time Emily and I had wrapped Christmas presents escaping the back cargo at stop signs, Andrew with severe pneumonia on the bench in front of us, and frozen carrot cake at our feet. I'm surprised Dad hasn't thought to charge us for extra bags like the airlines. Although being the engineer that he is he has probably already has thought of that but secretly enjoys the puzzle of trying to fit everything and everyone in the car.
As the oldest of the 3 I have rarely gotten the privilege of the entire back half of the Burb to myself. (Well actually, Mom is asleep on the bench in front of me as I write). Many times in recent years I have been in school or working and couldn't make the trip. It's kinda nice, though! I am sitting here with blog in hand, my current read The Blind Side, and 80's hit Girls Just Wanna Have Fun playing on TV. All MY choices.
What I like about these trips with the parents is that I have zero responsibility. Zero. It's not that I wouldn't take any, but they don't give me any. All I am responsible for is waking up and putting on my shoes for bathroom breaks and making it to the McDonald's cashier before Mom closes out. Oh, and be sure to be in the car before Dad puts the car in reverse after said stops. Other than that we the kids are duty free. And to tell you the truth I don't mind it one bit.
Unfortunately this is not a happy or planned trip. My Dad's first cousin, Janice, passed away unexpectedly on Monday morning. So, we packed up our stuff and left Tuesday night for our journey to the deep South. Oh how I miss the deep South. Most of our family will be there; it will be good to see them. If only it were under different circumstances. Please pray for the family; she leaves behind a mother, husband, daughter, 3 grandkids, and countless other family that loved her. BUT! There is good news! We as Christians are comforted knowing that she is in a much better place singing praises to our Lord. And sing she could here on this earth. I can only imagine what she sounds like in Heaven!