This is not the trip you would have taken

September 4, 2016 8:46 am By Maggie

And it wasn’t the trip we were taking either. We were originally headed out to the southwest. We were going to the Grand Canyon, Zion, Arches and Bryce National Parks, among other places. We researched those places. We watched National Parks films and listened to audio books about them. We followed each of those National Parks feeds on Instagram. We got books from the library. We plotted our map on the computer and then looked up all the places on a huge wall map. The kids wrote out descriptions of each of those places. We packed for weeks. It takes a lot to get 7 people ready for a 6 week road trip. We bought special gear. Camp stuff. Things to keep the kids entertained in the car. Some fancy gadget to keep the internet flowing in the middle of nowhere so Jake could work from the passenger seat while I drove along.

And then we met with Scout’s cardiologist one more time to be sure we were cleared for the trip. She was cautious but permissive. She gave us an elevation limit for him (8000 feet). She explained that the lower percentage of oxygen in the air meant that Scout’s heart would be working harder and how that might be a problem at some point. She wanted to make sure we could get to a hospital if he were struggling. But then she said “I’m sure it’ll be fine. Go. You’ll have a great time.”

So, obviously, we scrapped the entire trip.

4 days before we were to go. That’s not a lot of time to come up with plan B.

We came up with another route, other things to see. But there were problems with it…it was too far to go for only a few cool things, and it was so close to other things that were fun but the elevations were too high. So that was out.

We came up with a 3rd idea. Canada! But after mapping it out, it just seemed sort of underwhelming, and needed more than 4 days to figure out the stops and get excited about the places.

We came up with a 4th idea. Florida. But neither one of us was really excited about Florida. It didn’t seem very adventurous. And it was pretty far to go just for a nice pool and an affordable condo.

So we just headed south, toward DC. We thought we would do this, then that then the other thing after DC. But we started to get sick. On day 2, I got a┬ámigraine that lasted 3 days. Then Isaiah got a fever and a bad cough. Then he got sick to his stomach. And we felt less adventurous. Going wherever the wind blows suddenly seemed foolish, and impractical, and expensive. So we scraped together a few other stops, and couldn’t cancel Niagara Falls, which we promised the kids we would see (again). And in the end that’s what we did. We went south to go north.

As the trip went on, we did have fun. We did see cool things. And we continued to get sick. Lucy, then Dylan, then Jake. Finally me, and Scout. And so we are happy to just reel it in, and head home. We’re on the last leg, due in this afternoon. As I type this, we’re cruising down I-90 through NY, with 3 kids coughing, and another with a stuffy nose. One adult with an upset stomach, and no clean laundry left.

My sister asked me if I was happy we still did the trip. I am. It was hard. It wasn’t what we’d planned. But when do things work out exactly as you plan? Sometimes it comes close. Sometimes it doesn’t. This time, it was pretty far from our mark. But we tried. We got out. With 5 kids (including the WILDLY uncontrollable Isaiah, and the 4 month old with the heart condition), we hit the road. We went to new, and sometimes familiar places. We had great coffee. We met nice people. We almost got arrested (for leaving our car “unattended” at a gas station while having lunch in the rest stop). One of our sons got trapped and then freed from an elevator (!). We saw beautiful natural beauty and the foolish tourist attractions that surround these majestic places (Niagara Falls, underground caverns, Pennsylvania countryside). We went to awesome museums, and walked in the footsteps of our first president. We had a picnic on America’s front yard, and had steel cut oatmeal at the cutest little coffee shop you can imagine.

It was a good trip. It was hard, and it was shorter than we wanted it to be. But yeah, I’m glad we did it.



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