There’s still time to load up the Wagon Queen Family Truckster and hit the holiday road before summer ends. And as anyone who’s ever careened down endless stretches of highway, crammed between a mouth-breathing sibling and far too much luggage can attest, the experience has plenty of life lessons to offer.
1. Nothing worthwhile is easy.
No one actually believes this. In fact, it’s patently untrue. For example, how hard is it to procure an ice cream cone? You dig up a fistful of quarters, walk up to the window and 14 seconds later, ICE CREAM. How easy and worthwhile was that?
However, once you’re a parent, this is the generic bullshit wisdom that tumbles effortlessly from your face.
2. Getting there is half the fun.
It’s also three-quarters of the fighting, two-thirds of the bathroom emergencies, and seven-eighths of the getting lost.
3. Know when NOT to stop and ask directions.
Use discretion here. But if even the stray cats are waving you through stop signs, for godsakes, just keep driving.
4. The only people who are more insufferable than your immediate family members are your extended family members.
Want to appreciate the idiosyncrasies and occasionally infuriating behaviors of those you are required to live with? Spend a week with an uncle who clips his toenails in the living room and a set of nieces and nephews whose only vocal inflections are variations on whining.
5. You’ll pass a gas station every mile until you actually need one.
Rumor has it, this line narrowly missed out to the one about spoons and forks in Alanis Morrisette’s 1996 smash hit “Ironic.” Ok. That’s not true. But don’t even try to tell me it’s not more universally applicable.
6. Secure the luggage properly.
If you’re going to go to the trouble of packing it all, it only makes sense you’d do the best you could to make sure it reaches your destination.
7. Once you’ve put in the hard work, don’t take no for an answer.
You’ve earned this. Come hell or hostages, THIS FAMILY IS GOING TO HAVE FUN, DAMMIT.
8. Park near the exit.
It doesn’t matter how friendly the folks are at whatever concert/amusement park/sporting event you’ve descended upon. When that joint closes and you’re all attempting to vacate the parking lot at once, NO ONE IS YOUR FRIEND. In fact, if given the right equipment, that same dude who sang every lyric to the cover of the Beatles “All You Need is Love” would straight up DRIVE OVER YOUR CAR to leave first.
So do yourself a favor and get some exercise while you’re at it.
Bonus: Call ahead.