Lord have mercy, we made it through another summer! I had hoped to get out a post last week before we headed out to my mom’s for our end-of-summer visit, but clearly that didn’t happen.

As usual, packing sucked up all my free time. Midway through the endeavor, I paused, took a look at the ever-growing pile and considered the fact that pioneers probably didn’t have as much junk in their covered wagons as I was cramming into the minivan.

Hubby would no doubt agree, but then again, I don’t listen to him on this particular matter at all. Five kids -FIVE!- and he has never thought to pack so much as a diaper. He wakes up, morning of the trip, grabs whatever is handy, pulls on a pair of pants from the floor and starts bellowing that it is TIME TO GO! Never mind that some of us are packing for six and have been doing laundry for three days in anticipation. We have driven straight across this country more than once and to his mind, the only true travel necessity is a bag of beef jerky.

‘Cause, you know, kids LOVE jerky.

A comparison of our toiletry bags pretty much sums up the situation;

my face wash
Miss Teen wonder’s face wash
body gel
moisturizer with sunscreen
children’s tylenol
nail clippers
allergy medicine
extra earring backs
contact solution and case
lipstick (3)
the boy’s hair gel
the twins’ combs, sprayers, conditioners, hair clips and binders
wet wipes

Who needs a toiletry case?

The Universe, unfortunately, seems to be on his side. Because no matter how thoroughly I pack, no matter what contingency I plan for, something completely unforeseen happens.

This trip Hubby didn’t come at all, so I was free to bring whatever I thought we could possibly need. We had books on tape, frisbees, softball mitts and balls, jump ropes, snacks, bottled water, medicine for just about any ailment up to and including food poisoning…

…none of which helped us at all when the bird hit the windshield at seventy miles an hour and every last wet bit of avian debris was sucked into the car to ricochet off various screaming individuals until we could find an exit ramp.

We spilled out the doors, shrieking and laughing hysterically. The twins were convinced that they got the worst of it, since the body of the deceased bounced off their legs and landed at their feet. But I claim that distinction for myself, seeing as how I, in the first few seconds, thought one of the children had brought a water balloon in the car due to the wetness that soaked my head, neck and torso. Bird guts in your hair pretty much trumps dead bird at feet.

Now tell me, what could I have packed for that?

As it was, we managed to scavenge up a handful of fast food napkins and a bottle of hand sanitizer. I only had enough charge in the phone to call hubby and gasp out between peals of laughter, “…BIRD!…. in the car!!!…EXPLODED!!!!!” before the darn thing went dead.

The hero of the day turned out to be Little Man. While the rest of us were still shouting “EWWWWWW!” and running around the van rubbing ourselves with hand sanitizer, he calmly got a plastic bag, found a tent stake from our last vacation and scooped up all the bits. For the rest of the car ride whenever there was any sort of disagreement between the kiddlets, Little Man got EXACTLY what he wanted.

I suppose it’s a good lesson for the start of another school year. You can worry and plan and scheme and worry some more, but you can not predict the events that are going to challenge you the most. The best you can hope for is to approach them with laughter and surrounded by people who love you and are willing to help you through it.

I highly suggest a sturdy seven-year-old with a tent stake.

The Rise & Fall of a Momocracy

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