Thoughts From the Road

Five children, one mother, plus one Honda Odyssey packed to the roof equals a summer of adventure. Some people have commented that I have sentenced myself to a fate worse than a Mexican prison. Others have simply cringed and asked me why I would do this to myself. But it’s me who smiles like the cat out of Alice’s Wonderland, because I’ve got all that is important to me packed in tight behind me and the open road in front of us. We have seven weeks stretching before us and miles to go anywhere we want.

A lot of people have commented on how much the kids will learn. Will I take them to Parliament? What about MOMA? What a great opportunity to teach them about the world. I agree. The first opportunity was having them help plan the trip. Where we go and what we see. This is, after all, our trip.

So we arrive at the Six Flags with the whoosh of roller coasters overhead and the promise of towering watersides to cool us off when the heat gets to be too much. Walking through the gates I feel the years peeling back. The line blurs and I am talking about what ride we should conquer first with five of my best friends. We run to the first ride.

It’s thirty-six degrees out. The water ride Roaring Rapids wins for first ride of the day. It is a raft ride and we are promised to get soaked. There are twelve people to a raft so we enter with another family. There is a father with a Bluetooth in his ear. He looks old and detached. The ride attendant tells him to remove the Bluetooth. No loose articles allowed, and you have to leave all baggage at the dock.

I start to laugh as the first splash floods the raft. We are bounced off of rocks and the raft turns as water gushes in all around us. The two families disappear and we are a raft of eleven, laughing together bonded by water droplets. Water is essential for life.

We exit the raft. There are my five kids and another five kids. Where did the father go? The one with the Bluetooth? He’s there. At least a younger version of himself. He’s got his arm around his son and he’s pointing to the next ride. They’re running now, just a pair of kids playing together.

We will see so much of North America on this journey. There will be plenty of teachable moments. This one was for me. Life is good. Life is fun. Enjoy the thrill of the ride.