“Lord help me, I just got back from a family-driving holiday. “
In my infinite wisdom, or after a few too many Mummy drinks, I decided my family needed to explore this great land with a trip down to Melbourne by car. As in all of us, in a small space, breathing the same air for 20 driving hours.
So. Much. Fun.
While planning the holiday I became nostalgic over thoughts of my family driving holidays from New South Wales to Queensland to visit the Grandparents when I was a kid. Back then, in ye olden days, it was a 10-hour drive. My parents would wake up at 3am, cram 5 sleeping kids in the car and then pray we would stay that way for a few hours before the driving bribery, car games and stops at the golden arches kept us occupied for the rest of the trip.
We would sing ‘Hey Jude’ at the top of our lungs, share Twisties and play hours of eye spy. In my memory it was awesome. Fast-forward 30 years and I thought I was going to re-create those exact memories with my daughter.
Then we got in the car and it wasn’t long before the actual reality of those memories started flooding back.
Like nightmarish flashbacks.
We sang ‘Hey Jude’ because the tape got stuck and there was no other choice.
My brother ate too many Twisties and projectile vomited bright orange spew from one end of the car to the other. Then my Dad refused to pull over, gripping onto the wheel with determination while claiming we were almost there, FOR AN HOUR!
And my mother changed the eye spy game to ‘who can be the quietest for the longest’……the prize being she wouldn’t scream at us or threaten that we had to walk the rest of the way.
Ahh the memories.
Six hours into our trip, or 4.5 viewings of the movie Frozen, I’d put my neck out from playing car twister. Not a new and fun driving game, it’s what the front passenger has to do to turning from front to back to service her 2-year-old’s every whim. I gave up and resorted to sitting next to her, treating my husband like a chauffeur while she treated me like her private slave girl. I hand-feed her grapes and fanned her when the air-con stopped working because she didn’t like the window wind blowing in her eyes simultaneously reading her the same book 49 thousand times. Her grand finale came 15 minutes before arriving in Melbourne.She vomited without warning on everything, everyone, everywhere. It was as if her body decided to show us what it really thought of long car trips, which was not much, not much at all.
Later that night after booking flights home for half of us because we couldn’t endure the drive back I was dressing my now clean and washed little traveller. Having almost forgotten the horrors of the day I cuddled her close to me and breathed in her freshly scrubbed skin……
“You are so delicious Millie”
She answered with a little giggle
“No I’m not, I’m not grapes Mama!”
And with that I realised her childhood memory of this car trip will be just like the childhood memories of mine…..she will only remember the good bits, the bits where we were all together.