It has been a few years since we took our family of three sons (ages 16, 13 and 8) on vacation. It was time to brave the open road again. It is expensive to fly five people anywhere, so we packed up the family car for an old fashioned road trip.
Riding in a car with a week's worth of luggage and five people for dozens of hours doesn't sound fun. We were in denial that we would actually do this until the morning we left. We didn't leave until the afternoon to give us time to pack our bags and book some hotels at the last minute.
Traffic was terrible. Maybe it always is, or maybe it is because getting on the road in the afternoon makes it more likely to hit rush hour. The weather was hot and humid, making us wonder why we left the north.
But something happened along the way. As miserable as the trip was at times, we were doing it together, which was the point. All those endless hours in the car led us to create playlists (I didn't even know my car could DO that!) Cramped hotel quarters informed us our oldest son still suffers night terrors. Hokey touristy things led to the greatest jokes.
Sometimes it wasn't so miserable. Sometimes it was great. We were together for that, too.
The family vacation, with its frequent bathroom breaks and questionable food, was a bonding experience. It was us against the elements of long hours in the car without a radio station, traffic, tourists, summer heat on concrete, fast food. We made it out alive, and we wouldn't want to do it with anyone else.