About six weeks ago SS informed us that she needed a vacation, and immediately began planning her next getaway. We made it very clear that there would not be a vacation this year, no air travel. SS was undeterred. She talked non stop about all the things she was going to do during her vacation. Two weeks ago she began planning what she was packing for her imaginary getaway. P and I constantly reinforced that it was not going to happen. Really, where does she get that stubborn streak from? Must be JJ's fault.
Every time we have strayed far from home we have carefully planned our schedule. SS is a pro at air travel, but has never been on a car trip longer than five hours. Her longest trek was in 2009, when we met Nana and Grand Min in San Jose. On the drive home SS had a meltdown, she was not her easy breezy self. We were lucky that JJ was next to her and was able to calm her down. We were not keen on recreating the experience, and simply crossed long car trips from our to do list.
Then fate decided to throw us a curve ball, in the form of a totally unexpected ten hour drive that we had to get ready for practically overnight. We have always prepared SS far in advance of any trip or change in her usual routine. This was a must not a want, and air travel was not an option. Then P came up with the idea of selling this all of a sudden trip to SS as her long awaited, carefully panned (in her mind) vacation. I knew I married him for more than his good looks and debonair style.
We expected SS to demand the plane trip she felt was her birth right. Luckily for us she was very excited, even after we explained that she would be in the van for as long as she is at school. Our girl told her teachers with unbridled enthusiasm "I'm going on a vacation in my car. I LOVE my car." We would not necessarily define a three day unexpected, angst ridden trip a vacation. But we happily jumped on the semantics wagon in hopes that it would work. Yesterday, at 7:20 a.m. we set out with great apprehension. Although SS was happy, we were afraid of looking back on this trip as The Nuclear Meltdown.
SS's perception of a vacation is getting on a plane and sight seeing until we drop. The novelty of car travel really piqued her interest. She pointed out the trees, the sand mountain (not sure what she saw, but it was not sand), the cows, the horses. She wondered where was the farm the cows and horses went to at night. Oh my, looking out a car window is far more interesting than looking out a plane window. Except when Baba is pointing out how close lighting is to the plane. Never mind that Mama was white knuckling it already. Once again P came up with a great idea, we rented three movies for SS. Thanks to the wide availability of Redbox we could rent in Northern CA, and return in Southern CA. We threw as many home comforts as we could in the van and hoped for the best.
Then at 12:26 p.m. it happened. Our SS reached her limit and we panicked. The fifteen minutes that it took to reach the next exit seemed like 15 hours. We needed to get SS out of the van and stabilized. We allowed her to do her impression of a free range chicken, fed her, praised her for her awesome behavior and promised her pool time.
I usually do most of the driving when away from home. P is not keen on driving long distances or large vehicles. He also has a phobia of traffic jams, something we haven't dealt with for the past 15 years, because we have lived in a hell hole in the middle of nowhere. I'm not a fan sitting in a car in a jam packed freeway, but deal with it much better than P. I can't change it, and as long as I have music I can do the waiting game without becoming exasperated. That is how I became the designated driver in our relationship.
I was in really bad shaped when we left home. I go through 3-4 day cycles with my insomnia. I spend a few days with no sleep, then I crash. Yesterday morning I was way past the crashing zone. The stress of our impromptu little adventure certainly did not help. I tried my best to sleep without success. SS's almost meltdown erased any trace of sleepiness in me. I was wide awake and ready to drive the rest of the way. P surprised me by insisting on driving. About half an hour later it dawned on me that I was had by my evil husband. He was not being gallant by getting behind the wheel. No, my husband is a gigantic coward and a disgusting manipulator (all of this said with immense love). P was simply scared of the tiny weapon of mass destruction in the carseat behind him. Mr. I'm too fragile to drive long distances was avoiding SS, was afraid of what was going to happen, and callously threw me under the bus. I'm so planning to return the favor when he least expects it. :)
SS did well because I sat next to her for most of the remaining drive. There was a tense moment when SS became inpatient with the slow traffic. She shouted "BABA GO, JUST GO!" Patience is not one of SS's virtues. When we finally arrived SS threw us off by asking where was her Aunt Michelle. She was sad and shed a few tears. P quickly distracted her by taking her to see the pool. SS did better than her parents. I HATED the damn drive and wish I could have used SS as an excuse never to do it again.
We have a lot of respect for Aunt C and Uncle M, because they have driven from Missouri to Southern California with an infant Cousin B, and later with Cousin B and a very young Cousin H. There is no way we would ever attempt such a feat. If God intended for us to drive long distances, he would not have created the Wright brothers. The worst part of this suckfest is that we have to do it again tomorrow.
I really like SS's headphones, they are so her. I finally told P the price, and he asked me if I was out of my mind (he should know that ship sailed a long time ago). I noted that SS went through three reasonably priced headphones that far surpassed the cost of these ones, that she has had for over a year now. He agreed that it was a good investment.
Check out SS's new C0nverse kicks. She went for something completely different this time. We might end up getting her a pair of high top Chucks, because P really likes her in those. But now SS is more vocal about what she likes, things are definitely changing for us. We truly miss her mute and cute days.
At the five hour and twenty six minute mark SS reached her limit. Hated to see those tears knowing that she had at least five more hours to go.
Although we were on a tight schedule we stopped as soon as possible to prevent Mt. SS from having an epic eruption.
SS loves to help and what better way to lift her mood than putting her to work. Baba cleaned the windshield and SS cleaned the squeegee.
Pigeons making out. I was too lazy to get the good camera out. Thanks to our uncensored mouths SS now knows the meaning of making out.
After bitterly complaining that her soft work station was not up to her puzzle assembly standards, SS sucked it up and adapted.