Humans tend to be creatures of habit. They wander from their norms now and then, but for the most part they stick to what they know…to what’s steady and reliable. Waffles with strawberries and lemon curd have never let me down, so I stick with steady and reliable, and order them every time.
Out of habit, our family usually books ahead and makes a plan when traveling. We tell the kids where we’re headed, write out a packing list for each person, and then hit our chosen destination with a measure of precision, vigor, and vim!
This spring break, something was off. We weren’t really planning to go anywhere, as Matt had a scheduled business trip, and I thought I should probably spend the week preparing for our upcoming move. But then…Business trip cancelled + Rethinking moving prep (it’s not likely to be very productive with 4 kids at home) = Bad case of sponderlust! Spontaneous wanderlusting…my favorite way to see a new neck of the woods!
We had cousins heading south for the weekend, and whenever we ask our kids what they want to do for a holiday or school break, they swiftly reply, “What are the cousins doing?” Quickly followed by, “Will we get to swim at a pool?” We could take our kids around the world on a tour of the great pyramids of Giza, and upon inquiring about their favorite part of the trip, they would reply, “the hotel pool, and playing with the cousins!”
Before reaching our cousin Mecca, we made a wrong turn, and learned a few hilarious life lessons.
Lesson #1: When you make a wrong turn, and then think, “Hey, why not just keep going?! Might run into something cool, and there’s bound to be a little hotel here somewhere!”…the kids might not be on the same carefree wavelength. Oh, and it’s probably your fault that they’re not, because you have raised them to be, you guessed it, creatures of habit. When we pulled up to the only Motel in town, and I started hearing remarks such as, “Mom! You’ve got to be kidding me! That place looks super creepy!!” I knew I was in for some much understood opposition. 20 minutes and lots of tears later, we pried AJ’s fingers from the van door, and gave her the 5 second tour of Casa del Creepy…aka, her residence for the night.
Lesson #2: When you make a wrong turn and then think, “Hey why not just keep going?! Sure, it’s getting a little late, and the kids are past ready for dinner, but we might run into something cool, and there’s bound to be a little restaurant here somewhere!”…the kids might not be on the same carefree wavelength. Oh, and it’s probably your fault that they’re not, because you have raised them thus far to have never missed a meal. Like never ever. Like they’ve probably only known actual hunger a handful of times in their entire lives, and even then, within minutes they had calorie clad cupboards and a fridge full of food at their fingertips. So after checking into Motel Morbido, and after driving up and down the nearby town to discover that every restaurant in town was, you guessed it, CLOSED for the night, maybe the season, and judging from the plethora of cobwebs on their windows, maybe eternity, we headed back to the Motel’s adjacent gas station/casino/grocery store/eatery, and bought 6 delicious, likely expired, servings of Cup O’ Noodles. The kids virgin grumbly tummies were satisfied, and we tucked their sleepy little heads into their creepy little beds.
Lesson #3: When you make a wrong turn, and then think, “Hey, why not just keep going?! Might run into something cool, might find a creepy Motel, might end up eating Cup O’ Noodles 2 hours past dinnertime!”… DO IT!! And while you’re at it, don’t second guess yourself, and don’t even apologize to your kids if they aren’t super comfortable and super happy.
I don’t remember ever having purposefully made my kids sleep in less than favorable Motels, and eat dehydrated food when they really wanted pizza and brownies, but by chance, they got both of those things handed to them, and by golly, they lived to tell about it.
Hey, if we can just get Bates to install a pool, find a cafe that serves waffles with lemon curd, and convince the cousins to come along, we might even think about returning again sometime.