Traveling by cara(van)

We outgrew a minivan a while back for road trips, but this round we went big. Really, really BIG, and ended up in a 12-person passenger van. And I’m going to tell you now, we may never go back. No issues loading, easy to separate bickerers yet easy to share, everyone was comfortable and we had room for everything. Done.

That said, traveling with the whole crew leads to a number of “grit my teeth” moments. Almost every trip we take is to see family of one flavor or another, so the coordination involved gets a bit epic. We plan out our year’s worth of travel by February, trying to fit everyone in around work, school and other people’s schedules. When you’re booking 8 tickets at a time, you have to go through a travel agent. As an individual, I can’t book us on one reservation. Hotel rooms often have similar limitations. So as much fun as we have with the people we see, the traveling part stinks.

Someone reminded me of my privilege this week. She’s not wrong, but for me, a lot of the privilege comes from getting to be a part of this family. These trips are a commitment, a valentine to family far and wide. We are fortunate to be able to make them happen, but with kids this young, it’s also a lot of work and will always be a big investment of time and treasure. Well spent, but wow. And yet, watching the kids run in dizzy circles with family they don’t ever get to see enough of, no matter how well we do, is incredible. I’m convinced it will always feel too short, and it will never work for everyone.

So to those of you who wish we came more often and stayed longer, we hear you. We’re also grateful you feel like that after we bring our noise, germs and figurines into your pristine spaces. We do our best. And we love exploring other places with our kids, but suspect it will get easier when:

– there’s no more diapers

– naps are a thing of the past

– bedtime doesn’t come with a “crash and burn” insanity level

– kids can bathe themselves

– lovies left in the car don’t bring on hysterics

– the baby stops eating rocks and sand

– we don’t want to go to bed before the kids

So we spent Easter rocking down a highway to an airport hotel. Tess wrote the bunny a great letter, instructing him to come the next week. We didn’t have adorable dresses and brunch with the Wisconsin family, but we got desert exploration and quality time with the Arizona side. Different, but just as magical. Happy Easter everybody.

Just to keep the car fun rolling, one of ours kicked it this week. So I won’t be purchasing a passenger van, but I will say I was tempted! 🙂