Speaking of surprises…
Mae slipped while getting off a merry-go-round at a park in Pasadena, and that was that. Split chin. A trip to Urgent Care where they charged us $99 to tell us she needed stitches, but they couldn’t do them. Since our four year old wasn’t going to sit still while the doctor stuck a needle and thread through her skin, we had to move along. (After much complaining they later reversed the charge, to their credit.) So we spent the next five hours in the Huntington Hospital Emergency Room. Six stitches later we had a sad but mended preschooler, and headed to Hermosa Beach.
The show must go on.
Again, the unexpected is actually to be expected on a road trip. Anything you aren’t planning is fair game. Agendas need to be held loosely, with your sense of humor in tact, in order to brave a days-long vacation via car. The more days, the more surprises.
When Luke was not quite a year old we drove from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon to spend Thanksgiving with my brother and sister-in-law. It was a long, exhausting trek with a not-yet-walking-but-desperate-to-crawl baby. His hands and knees were perpetually blackened from scooting along brewery floors as we made our way up the coast. I nursed in the car, in gas station parking lots, tucked back into restaurant booths. We shoved Luke’s pack-n-play in the bathroom at each hotel – fan on to provide white noise – and shuffled to the lobby to brush our teeth each night. But all of that, however tiring, was par for the course. The usual for people traveling with an infant. What wasn’t on our radar was the flu. Just after our Thanksgiving meal it was clear Luke was ill. He slept for days in my brother’s dark basement, waking only long enough to nurse and get an affirmative flu test at the doctor’s office. We left nearly a week later than we had planned, Luke only somewhat better, with the entire length of the United States before us. Poor baby. Poor us.
Not the trip we had envisioned.
So said every person who ever traveled anywhere. We lost our Shinkansen train tickets in Japan, got separated from one another at the largest outdoor market in the world in Bangkok, left Marc’s glasses at the bottom of an inverted trail in Hawaii, only realizing the mistake, of course, when we reached the top. The unexpected is our constant travel companion. At times because we’re dopey, but at other times because life is jam packed with twists and turns, and why should vacations be any different? We make an itinerary, do our best to schedule only fun, but life sneaks in and throws us of course. It’s bound to happen. So be it. Open hands and a sense of humor. The most important things to pack.
Luckily, we brought two suitcases.