The Great American Family Road Trip [2017]: Days 11-13

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“Do you want to stay or leave?”

It’s a question with no right answer, but it comes up often in our marriage.

Several weeks ago, my husband and I decided to make our last overnight stop a short stay in Mississippi with his family. But our daughter’s diagnosis of hand, foot, and mouth in Colorado changed everything.

We desperately needed a day outside of the car.

But, if we stayed longer than originally planned, could we drive from Mississippi to Georgia in one day in time to make our kids’ preschool open house at 7 p.m. the next day?

This would be the challenge on the final leg of our journey.

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The Great American Family Road Trip [2017]: Day 10

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“It’s going to be uncomfortable.”

My husband’s pre-road trip words were more than a warning – they were an imminent truth.

And by Day 10, hand, foot, and mouth disease had led to collective sleepless malaise. We were also running out of clean clothes.

But our daughter gave us the best reason to hold on and not grow weary.

It was her second birthday.

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The Great American Family Road Trip [2017]: Day 7

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“Two boys and one girl is my ideal.”

I couldn’t help but eavesdrop. You don’t see two grown men discussing fertility over dinner very often.

But such was the case last night.

Meanwhile, my husband and I were body-blocking our children from leaping to their death from the open second floor window.

Ah, dinner in Snowmass Village, Colorado.

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The Great American Family Road Trip [2017]: Day 6

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I think the greatest fear on a road trip with small children is that you will somehow scar them for life.

They’ll get abducted.

They’ll see locals smoking weed.

Or Mom and Dad will have a complete meltdown – potentially in public.

The last one, I’ll admit, is the closest to reality.

But I’m happy to report that none of the above have occurred on our cross-country road trip.

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The Great American Family Road Trip [2017]: Day 5

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“I think it’s going to rain more!”

We should have listened to our oldest backseat driver. Eerie foreshadowing.

But my husband and I wanted to execute at least one idyllic family picnic during our trek across the country. And what better spot than Rocky Mountain National Park?

Except, of course, we knew the storm was coming.

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The Great American Family Road Trip [2017]: Day 4

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When you get married, you don’t consider all the things that can go wrong – the things that WILL go awry. 

In many ways, Karen Carpenter was right: You’ve only just begun.

And little did I know that – just before our eighth anniversary – my husband would be driving me up a steep mountain road in the pouring rain with two excitable children in the backseat…thousands of miles from home.

Thanks, Expedia.

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The Great American Family Road Trip [2017]: Day 2

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Human beings are funny creatures. Even at 10 p.m. on vacation, I found myself running on a treadmill last night.

In my defense, we spent most of our second day on the road in the car. Again.

But in the 20 minutes I spent exercising alone, I enjoyed the kind of reflection that comes when you don’t hear a child breathing (i.e. whining) for the first time all day.

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What do playgrounds say about us?

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One of my earliest school memories involves biting the dust while climbing an oversized metal spider in the middle of our playground. Morning dew and my mother’s shoe selection were equally to blame.

But I didn’t give up on the challenge. And, by the end of that week, I conquered the source of my fleeting Kindergarten shame.

It would be decades before I would see equipment that resembled that delightful spider I once cursed. Last week, in fact, I took our kids to a park with a similarly aged steel insect and a rusted merry-go-round. As you may have guessed, both still inspire squeals of joy…and caution.

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