In about an hour--oh, who am I kidding--at exactly 8 AM, we're going to leave the beach. My Suburban is already packed, bikes already attached to the back, and the kitchen at our beach house is really the only thing left to deal with: breakfast, then pack up our lunches for the road, then head out. The specific time of our departure and my already-packed car provides a little insight into me as Driver. I'm pretty sure I'm not at the top of the list of fun road trip mamas.
It's not my fault--I have to blame most of my driving habits to my father. He's an Army guy, and though he is a lot kinder and softer and smarter than the generic Army soldier that might jump to your mind, he's definitely as disciplined and strict. And when he had two young girls and one easy-going wife living under his roof, he thought he was right all the time. So he could be right all time time. That is, until my not-easy-going sister hit her teenage years, but that's another story altogether.
My dad would wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning to pack the car, taking everything that needed to fit into the trunk and placing it curbside. He'd glance at the items and look at the trunk, and quickly figure out the most efficient way to pack the trunk.
I don't know what my mom did during this time, but whatever it was, she was in support mode. We all knew Dad was in charge of these things. Of most things, now that I look back. Meanwhile, under the covers, my sister and I drank up the last few minutes in our beds. Mom would wake us up when the car was packed, and we'd shuffle with sleep still in every bit of our bodies from our beds to the car, blankets and all.
We drove away, heading towards our destination, before the sun came up. Before everyone else, my dad would say in a pretend-maniac voice, laughing crazily to go along with it. That was his plan! We hit the road while everyone else lolly-gags (his word) their way towards their vacation. Not us!
Once we hit the road, there were few stops. If my sister and I had to go to the bathroom, we knew we'd have to hold it. "Think of tight things!" my Dad would joke with us. But was he joking? We didn't test it. Finally, when thinking of tight things didn't work anymore, we'd have to talk Dad into stopping. Mom often had to intervene, serving as the diplomat shuttling between her daughters' needs and her husband's personality. It wasn't that he was mean, it was that we had to get there!
When we did stop, Dad would insist that he had to get his blood flowing again after sitting for so long, and he'd do jumping jacks and push ups and I can't remember what else near our car. Dad was always in shape, and there was no need to decrease his fitness on day one of our vacation!
So today, as we drive back home from the beach, guess what my kids endure? That's right--early departures, few stops, carside burpees, and the early-morning-no-stopping-road-trip genes.
They'll thank their GrandDad and me later. (And to their future partners--sorrry!)