No novel, play, or poetic soliloquy exists that could depict our most recent family journey. The accurate portrayal will have many in disbelief, shifting family vacations as news of great conflict spreads through the parental community like a runny nose in kindergarten.
There is mystery, danger, protagonist versus antagonist as the plot twists down roads forgotten by time, industry, and GPS. There are inner struggles, man versus man, man versus tire, and man versus multiple bags of pork skins.
Possibly there will be a book, a riveting expose of sorts that dives into the deep side of our journey. Until then, I will endeavor to relive some of the harrowing moments, if only to spare another overly eager mother the pain of reality, loss of the mystical, unattainable, perfectly planned vacation. The wounds are deep and emotions raw.
It began like any other day as I stumbled towards a coffee pot that had no coffee, a foreshadowing of things to come. My daughter had boastfully packed her things; however, she failed to pack clothing. Doubting a pack of markers, three questionable items covered in glitter, my long-lost earrings, and a few stale crackers were proper necessities, I repacked.
Unbeknownst to us, the following nine hours would push us to limits unknown, test our marriage and cause us to intensify the volume of child-approved music to drown out the incessant, “Are we there yet?” Even now, chills trot down my spine as I share the dark side of parenthood, the stories most choose not to tell, that would disturb society’s fundamental ideals.
We were sure that our sweet new puppy was an angel straight from heaven, master of her bladder and boss over her bowels — the perfect puppy. We would have continued this presumption had we not left her with a friend. A friend that we had promised her behavior was nothing less than stellar.
What did our little celestial furball do? She decorated his home with massive amounts of poo. This enlightening news came within hours of our departure, precisely when the trip took a turn for the worse. His house wasn’t the only thing going to poo.
It began with an incurable flat tire. A flat tire that continued even with a brand new tire purchased in somewhere Georgia. This inexplicable phenomenon had mechanics across three counties shaking their wrenches. Perplexing as it may be, it is true. For those wondering, tires purchased during times of extreme need come at a premium. That is if you actually can find them.
Surprisingly, three tire shop visits, two tours in questionable restrooms, and a mile walk to Dollar General for replacement Crocs don’t top the list of preferred educational outings. My 8-year-old daughter used perfect manners speaking to the gentleman trying to sell us a particular illegal plant. Only a few hours into our trip and her life experiences quadrupled. There are some things you can’t learn in school. Fortunately, we have family vacations to fill in the blanks.
It is too soon to share all the details of how our five-hour drive turned nine-hour dateline special; however, my child now has expansive knowledge of consumable plants, tire repair, and how to balance on Mommy’s arms in restrooms. We finally made it to Legoland to spend three relaxing days surrounded by tiny toys that bring strong men to their knees when stepped on just right. Surrounded by primary colors and roller coasters that keep Chiropractic Clinics full, the Weatherfords learned that we, just like all those before us, fell victim to the notion of the perfect vacation. Like unicorns, mermaids, or comfortable bras, no one has ever seen them, although they appear in legends and dreams.
She may not remember the names of the roller coasters, the size of the stuffed monkey won by her daddy or that her mom got into a peculiar situation with a hand dryer. I believe she will remember Mommy walking down a strange road to get her pink Crocs and daddy checking tire pressure every 20 minutes to ensure her safety. The three days were special, but the nine hours were unforgettable.
God bless Mommas and Daddys and the unattainable perfect vacation.
Cherimie Crane Weatherford is the owner/founder of SugarBelle, a long-time real estate broker and a lover of the obscurities of southern culture. To contact her with praise and adoration, email CCWIslandNews@gmail.com. To complain, call your local representative.