As we load up the van to spend Christmas with Craig’s mom, it reminded me of a long-distance road trip I took with Sarah Reinhard and our kids a few years ago, to attend the Catholic New Media Conference in Atlanta. Do you need a “Road Trip Survival Kit” to get you through the next few weeks?
If you’ve ever taken a road trip with a van full of kids, you know that there are certain items that you never, ever leave behind. Not if you expect to make it to your destination without one or more children strapped to the roof. Our “Road Trip Survival Kit” has a cooler containing . . .
- Frozen juice pouches (to keep the kids from slurping them all in the first five miles),
- Diet Coke (to keep YOU alert and headache-free),
- PB&J (to toss in the back seat every time a kid spots a McDonalds and whines for sustenance),
- Frozen container full of chili or other dinner you can zap in the hotel microwave (don’t forget the corn chips for scooping), and
- Two bottles of Mike’s Hard Lemonade (for after the kids go to bed).
In addition to the cooler, bag of swim gear (one adult takes the kids to the pool while the other unpacks the room and gets dinner started), and Mystery Bag (full of treats from the Dollar Store, to toss in the back seat at regular intervals to keep the chaos down to a dull roar), there are two more items in my “Travelin’ Mom Roadtrip Kit”: a rosary . . . and a GPS. They stay on my dashboard, always in arm’s reach. After all, a girl never knows when she might need a little prompting to head in the right direction.
It’s been ten years since my husband and I foster-adopted our kids, both of whom have special needs. And in the past eight months, we’ve had to face some extraordinary challenges that have resulted in a kind of mental U-Turn. More and more, I find myself thinking about all those things that I wish someone had thought to tell me ten years ago. Perhaps you have been in the trenches a while, and feel the same way.
If that’s the case, I invite you to join me on this road trip. Rosary and GPS in hand, let’s explore that “road less traveled” . . . together.
What’s the most indispensable component of YOUR “Road Trip Kit”?
Heidi, I am with you–in prayer, especially. I have been reading and re-reading your posts. I so enjoy your writing and find much inspiration in all that you have to say. I pray that whatever is going on with your son, that you all may be healed and together again. We are facing our own set of challenges with our adopted daughter. One of the most astonishing revelations to me as a mom is the “ugly” thoughts I find myself having daily–negative, awful thoughts. I often find myself thinking, “this is not the mom I thought I’d be.” Anyway, may God bless you in your trials and triumphs and may He protect your children and husband as well.
Dear Autumn: It’s one of the great unspoken secrets of parenting, that sometimes — as much as we love our children — it can be hard to feelloving toward them, especially when their needs have sucked up every last drop of our energy resources. For adoptive mothers, this feeling of helplessness and frustration can come as an especially unwelcome surprise. I mean, most of us moved heaven and earth to become parents . . . often after years of anxious infertility. But the reality is love is not centered in the feelings, but in the will. The WILL to love is what kept Jesus on the cross. And it is what keeps us going day after day, even on those days when we would just as soon run, screaming, for the hills.
Thank you for your prayers and your kindness, Autumn. So many people have taken time to show their kindness and concern, it has really helped us rise above the chaos. May you experience that same kind of grace in your own family, that you and your daughter will in time become the best version of yourselves.