This was the first "more than a day trip" adventure we took with the kids. All of the other trips out of town were extended family-reasons; a trip to visit Grandma in Wisconsin, Nona in Detroit, White Clan camping, or tag-along-with-Mommy-because Daddy-can't-get-out-of-work-and-Mommy-really-wants-to-go-to-Irish-Fest-in-Milwaukee. Good thing the kids like hanging with their cousins and watching movie marathons in the car. Thank God the mother of all inventions (the in-car DVD player) was created and Steve bought one, against my ridiculous desire to be a 1970s parent and play the alphabet game, or sing "99 bottles of Beer." Sometimes I really don't think through what I want the kids to experience. I am not a sane person.
Seriously, Detroit is at minimum a 10 hour drive; especially when Steve's driving and we only stop twice. Kenosha is another 8 hours west. We have to drive through Chicago to get there. While the skyline is spectacular, the interstate through the loop is usually the nightmare - like a really steep hill on mile 25 of a marathon. After we pass the Montrose exit, we still have another 75 minutes. And all of us have really full bladders. But we don't want to stop because we really want to be NOT driving.
The return drive home is even more brutal; mostly because we know we have a 18 hour drive and the last 3 hours on I-80 East after Punxatawny exit can nearly make you insane. But we do get a wonderful oasis stop in Bowling Green, OH; friends who have six cats and two horses.
I'm blessed to have a pragmatic husband. And I'm sure the kids know how lucky they are to have his reasonable mind balance my insanity.
The last time Steve and I went on an adventure like this, it was January 2000 (pre-Kids), when his company sent us to the Bahamas for four days. By the time we figured out how to escape the hotel pool and the same five Jimmy Buffet songs (to this day I can't stomach them) to discover snorkeling and the town outside the vacation complex, the trip was awesome. It was a total reset button.
As was this adventure. I was thinking I was going to be really frustrated with the lines for the rides, with whining kids who had less patience than I do for standing in line. But the parks were great -- really great. Steve and I enjoyed the fantasy as much as the kids. We were probably geeking out a little more at the technology and the attention to details than they were. But they geeked out about the hotel pool more than we did. So I guess we balanced. Express passes and themed hotel didn't hurt.
I didn't realize what a reset button is was until we were heading back home. I had been checking email daily so I wouldn't have a huge mountain of worry. There were no emergencies, no critical management issues. No butterflies in the stomach on the return flight.
For someone who is supposed to be lettered with a terminal degree, why do I wait 12 years between adventures? Oh yeah.... $$$. It may have been more expensive than we normal spend on vacations (usually don't need hotel rooms with family trips). We also don't normally take flights, unless the timing is absolutely necessary. This trip was a combined Christmas-Birthday-1st Communion. A "once in a lifetime" trip. I hope we can take another adventure trip in five years. Maybe by then, both kids will be tall enough for all the rides.... or maybe by the time we actually go on another adventure; the kids pay for it.