“Mom, how much longer ’til we get there?” If you’re a parent, no doubt you’ve been asked that question countless times on a roadtrip. I always feel like replying with a Mr. Incredible-ism: “We’ll get there when we get there!”
On our recent family vacation that included 1,800 miles and five states, we heard that question. A lot. In the midst of car bingo, the alphabet game, music, naps, a few sibling fights and some DVD movies, I was struck by their question, particularly the “getting” and the “there.”
As a kid, while I wanted to be “there” badly, many of my most precious memories are the “getting.” We lived in the Texas panhandle and drove to New Mexico often. On the way to Angel Fire, there was a great fresh-water stream that ran out of a fallen log. That water was cold and delicious. We begged our parents to pull the car over everytime we drove by so we could enjoy that water. In the winter, we marveled at how the winter had frozen it in time. There was also a great dive that had the best ice cream, smothered in chocolate. Just thinking about it makes me wish I could enjoy a bite for old time’s sake.
It wasn’t until we journeyed out for this year’s vacation that those memories came flooding back. We brown bagged it and stopped at a state line welcome center for lunch. The kids ran around like crazy people, we busted out the sandwiches, chips and cool drinks and enjoyed the break. We pointed out sites of interest, quizzed the kids’ on the state capitol, oohed and ahhed at the U.S.S. Alabama and even enjoyed a tasty beignet somewhere around New Orleans. When we hit the Mississippi state line, we realized we’d be traveling through a city that an old college friend calls home. We texted him, he wasn’t busy and so we stopped and shared a glass of sweet tea with him. Oh, how I adore the south. That was some precious time. We laughed and reminisced about the good ‘ol days, my kids enjoyed the break from the car and we reconnected with a friend. Yes, it added an hour to our drive time, but it reminded us all of an important life lesson.
You never regret spending time with people who shaped you into the person you’ve become. The next state line will always be there, but time spent with friends is fleeting.
Over the course of the week we made a boatload of memories: we painted pottery, parasailed, ate some fantabulous seafood, played in the ocean, enjoyed the zoo and aquarium and walked the French Quarter. While most of our 932 vacation pictures show us at our final destinations, getting there proved to be just as much fun. How about you, what’s your take on getting there?