2014 EPIC Summer Road Trip: Part 1 – Before the Beginning
July 31, 2014
It’s taken me a few days to wrap my head around how to approach a stop-by-stop recap of our 2014 EPIC Summer Road Trip. Keeping it honest in here is important to me. I most certainly don’t want to take the ‘Brady Brunch’ approach. That is just not the stuff that blended families are made of and this was definitely not the ‘A Camping We Will Go Episode’ where through a series of events the family bonds and learns some profound lesson ever closer because of it. When you’re here, what you see is what you get. But how do I balance writing about something that is a bit sensitive and sometimes touchy while being honest? Here it goes…
Epic Summer Road Trip
We set out and I had been a bit disappointed because we had asked the girls to each research and choose something they wanted to see or do in California. Neither took an active interest so I was deflated by what I perceived as a lack of enthusiasm. I tried not to take it personally and went on with planning. I was sure they’d love seeing all of the places I had researched and read about. I can now write I had expectations upon my bonus daughters that I shouldn’t have had. Unrealistic is an understatement. You see, I expected that they would be like me when I was their age: full of wanderlust and itching to explore. I would have combed book after book and written out an itinerary of must-see places. I expected kids who thought a road trip was one of the best things in the world. I did several cross-country road trips as a kid. I ate it up. Back then I didn’t have a DVD player built into the car or an iPad with which to keep myself entertained! The license plate game was plenty fun for me. And we were “only” doing the state of California! Surely this would be a breeze, right?
Summer Road Trip – The Plan
I spent months planning and obsessing over details (remember I’m a corporate event manager – it’s what I do). We spent a significant amount of money. We timed the purchase of a new SUV to coincide with the girls’ arrival. I painstakingly made sure that everyone would be okay with the color of their new sleeping bag (though the hubs insisted they would be fine with whatever they got). We bought new camping chairs, new supplies and created checklists so things wouldn’t be forgotten. I planned out our stops and splurges and put so much into convincing myself this would be an awesome EPIC road trip, I overlooked the fact that all kids are different. Take my husband’s 14 year old – she is amazing. She is talented and gorgeous and I am so grateful for the job her mom is doing (and for the relationship I have with both of them). She is funny and clever and I am so excited to see her develop as she enters into high school, though I also want to wrap her in a burlap bag from neck to toes and insist she can’t date ‘til she’s 30! She is also a country girl through and through who isn’t a big fan of the city. That is totally foreign to me since I’m a city girl. It just never hit me that kids would arrive to certain places and not care for them. Ah ha moment: Oh, kids have opinions about things like cities, too!? Don’t laugh ;). I’m still new at this. Instead of me registering things in my head as, “She has personal taste just like the other billions of people on the planet,” I took it as the choice I made to visit a certain place was being criticized. I realize how unreasonable that is now. Goodness knows people think I am nuts for not liking Paris.
The hubs’ eight year old is a bit of an adventurer. She once told me she wanted us all to move to Palau for a year based upon a photo on the cover an airline magazine – and I love that about her. She’ll take the city and the country. She’s tell it like it is and just as with most eight-year olds-a filter? What filter? I also sometimes forget she’s eight. There is this mature air about her and she’s a bit of an old soul who is very sensitive and serious; and just like her daddy dad it’s hard to tell when she’s excited (before her arrival she called to inform him she is now too old to say daddy – though she called him daddy most of the time she was here). This was also the first time she sometimes didn’t listen to me and ignored my requests. Entering into the next stage of life, I suppose! On the topic of growing up, she is also going through a major growth spurt and a cheeseburger phase. I was worried she had a tapeworm (I’m kind of not joking) and was constantly trying to balance fruits and vegetables into her diet while discouraging soda to get good stuff in her. From what my co-workers who are parents tell me this is totally normal. See, for me it isn’t. My mom was nutrition queen and til this day I can’t stand drinking soda. It was not allowed in my house. I don’t drink sugar and the rare instances I do, I get horrible headaches. The idea of drinking sweet tea which was not readily available during the girls’ time here in California (much to their chagrin)? Disgusting. What do the girls think of UNsweet tea that I love: disgusting. See what I’m getting at here?
So here are two girls from a different world and I am expecting that they are going to be experiencing the same emotions as a 38 year old woman about an ELEVEN-DAY summer road trip that will require hours of driving and spending time in places I chose in hopes of us all having a good time 24 hours a day 7 days a week. See how I set myself up for some disappointment here?
Now that the girls are back home I’ve had some time to reflect and realize how silly it was of me to take the approach I did. Don’t get me wrong. We had a good time and I think we all took some really fun memories with us, but next time around the hubs will plan the vacation and I will go along for the ride…it’ll be on a plane and we’ll stick to one place where we can just veg and relax for a week! I am capable of learning new lessons and oh did I learn! So stay tuned. You’re in for beautiful scenery and some fun, sometimes frustrating and most definitely humorous times!