Another travel season, another road trip … Can I quote Dickens? “These are the best of times and the worst of times.”

As I surveyed the mound of clothes, toys, gluten-free food, and therapeutic items I had yet to pack, I wanted to run and hide in the closet. How was it all going to fit and what would we do with it once we got to Grandma’s?

The words “Road Trip” used to stir a sense of thrill and adventure in me: the open road, fun with friends, singing, laughing, junk food, and new places to see. Now I get more of a quake in my intestines.

Here is a sample of our last road trip:

Six-year-old: “Are we there yet?”

Hubby: “No, we told you five minutes ago we still have six hours to go.”

Four-Year-old: Spit.

Six-year-old: “Mommy! She’s spitting on me!”

Mommy: “Stop spitting on your sister …”

Four-year-old: Spit, spit, spit. Ear piercing scream.

Hubby: Shivering and wiping the back of his head. “That is so gross!”

Six-year-old: “Mommy!”

Mommy: Wiping spit off the dashboard. “I can’t make her stop, guys, but she can sure get some distance, yes? Ha, ha…” Lord, make her stop spitting, and while You’re at it, will You please make her not autistic anymore?

Silence

Mommy: “Did we hit a skunk?”

Hubby: “No, that would be the dog. She ate three cans of cat food just before we left.”

Six-year-old: “Are we there yet?”

I’m sure all of you have experienced the same and more. Well, we still have no solution for the spitting, but my husband came up with a great way to help with the “Are we there yet?” questions and teach geography at the same time. Each trip, he prints off a map and then he gives my daughter a highlighter. They call off towns and any land marks while she marks them off and traces our route. It made that part of the trip more fun. We also try harder to hide the cat food the night before a trip …