By Cindy Argiento
The other day while sitting in a friend’s new car, two things struck me: 1) I haven’t smelled a new car in a long, long time; and 2) her car was clutter-free, even the trunk.
Just like the closets in my house hold the household clutter, my car’s trunk holds car clutter. And you can bet traveling with three kids, there was a lot of clutter. When it came time for car trips the words, “traveling light” eluded us.
When the kids were little, we traveled with diaper bag, stroller, high chair, infant seat, playpen, portable crib, an extra parent outfit (costume changes were necessary thanks to the baby who spit up on us) and oh, yeah, the baby. All this for a trip to Grandma’s, down the block.
Once the kids matured and baby bags became obsolete, I figured traveling would get easier; instead baby toys were replaced with electronic toys. Today, instead of a baby bag we have SIRIUS radio for our continuous entertainment. Today, instead of a goodie bag in the backseat with the kids, we hang the DVD player and they jockey for a good seat. Today, instead of reading a map, we listen to the sweet GPS lady tell my husband she’s “recalculating” because he failed to follow her directions. I’m convinced one day a fist is gonna magically pop out from the screen and punch my husband in the nose due to “recalculating frustration” on her part … and I’ll applaud.
Family trips aren’t what they used to be. Kids no longer fight for the window seat or look to spy out of state license plates. Most of all, since kids play with their own toys and don’t fight with their siblings, parents no longer need to threaten them with, “Don’t make me stop this car and come back there.” These were the moments that made for fond, lasting memories.
Today, between GPS, SIRIUS radio, cell phones, DVD players and iPods, distractions are constant and a family could travel cross country and miss the entire country!
As a mother, I have worried that the family bond isn’t as strong as it once was. I worried if I could live with the fact family car trips may no longer be happy memories etched forever in a child’s mind. I worried … until the day I was stopped at a light alongside a car where a family was screaming and fighting.
I knew then and there I could live with it.
Cindy Argiento is a freelance writer. She is a public speaker for her book “Deal With Life’s Stress With ‘A Little Humor.’” To contact her or to book her for your next event, go to firstname.lastname@example.org.