Packing a family of four with two young children for a week long vacation, and traveling there in a car without the confines of air travel, is like packing to move. Regrettably, without the moving truck.
We’re staying in a three-bedroom condo (vs. a hotel room), so my packing list looks something like the math formulas BP’s engineers worked on to fix the Gulf oil spill. From diapers to dish soap, sippy cups to stain remover and books to bath toys, I’m ready for anything. The problem is that I just started packing and the car is already full with two car seats and a stroller in back.
In addition to supplies, I also have a bag packed with the kids’ favorite snacks – basically, anything I can think of that might be hard to buy and even harder for my kids to survive without for a week. Between you and me, Riley wouldn’t last 30 minutes without a fruit squeezer, and Dylan wouldn’t make it much longer without an orange cracker fix (any orange cracker will do).
We’re also packing Dylan’s potty seat cover, a stool, Riley’s highchair cover and Dylan’s travel aerobed (he has habit of rejecting traditional beds in unfamiliar places). Oh, and we’re surprising Dylan with a tent for the aerobed. We read in the local newspaper that kids do better while away when they have a special space that is all their own. We’ll see. After that, there are the toy baskets that each kid gets to fill plus movies and books. Then, there are the actual suitcases, and don’t forget the bag we’ll bring in the car for the four-hour drive north.
My dad understands my packing stress and always tells me, “Jenny (that’s what my family and anyone who knew me before 1993 calls me), you’re not leaving the country. I’m sure there’s a market there.” I don’t want to arrive in paradise only to have to search for the nearest Publix to buy diapers and Goldfish. As a kid, I would wear my bathing suit on the plane when we went on vacation so I could go straight to the pool when we got there. The buy-when-you-get-there philosophy just isn’t my style. So, I pack. And since we’re driving, I can pack a lot.
Am I outing myself as a Crazy Mama here? I have to ask, because I’ve been making lists and packing for this trip for more than three weeks. I have anxiety on par with what I was nervous about last week. Not only do I have to pack for the kids, but if Mike were left on his own, he would pack nothing but a bathing suit and a box of cigars. Me, I like to have a lot of choices, but I have to figure out how to pack five pairs of shoes instead of 10. I’m under a lot of pressure.
With 24 hours before we leave, I will channel a calmer, simpler version of myself and try to pack less. Thankfully Mike bought a Roof Bag (roofbag.com) in case my channeling fails. (FYI: He bought the Roof Bag, not me. Shopaholic Mama was not involved!)
So there you have it. Unless you hear from me again, you can assume we fit it all in the car and hit the road. I plan to disconnect at least a little bit while we’re away, but I’ll definitely be in touch if anything especially interesting happens. I’m sure it will.