Recently, my family and I drove several hours to visit my cousin. On the way, we stopped to visit Elmo at Sesame Place, because with three kids ages seven and under, it seemed like the thing to do. It also seemed to be on the way to my cousin's house. At times, our trip was enjoyable, at times it was stressful, and at times, it was almost relaxing.
Almost. But not quite.
Mostly, though, this trip was incredibly educational. In fact, I learned more than I ever expected.
The first thing I learned is that nothing is really on the way to anywhere else. You may think it's on the way. Mapquest may tell you it's on the way. Your GPS may even concur. But trust me when I tell you, nothing is on the way to anywhere. Not really.
I also learned that you should never swear that you know you are in Philadelphia unless you see an actual sign that says "Welcome to Philadelphia". As it happens, Wilmington and Philadelphia are pretty close to each other, but are not, in fact, the same city.
I learned the value of having someone help me drive. Normally, I drive myself and the kids around all week without help, and my husband drives himself around all week. This time, I got to drive all of us, while my husband was helping me. You may not know how helpful it is to have someone tell you when you're going too fast and when you're going too slow. Or when you need to switch lanes as well as when you should stay right where you are. It is really some kind of helpful.
I'll let you figure out which kind.
I learned that, if your four-year-old tells you that he wants to see Elmo, you shouldn't assume that he also wants to go on rides, play games, or see shows involving the other Sesame Street characters.
He said that he wanted to see Elmo, and that is exactly what he meant.
I learned that it's a really good idea to have more than one set of keys to your car. This is important because otherwise, when the keys get locked in the car, your wonderful, helpful husband will have to spend an hour and a half trying to open the door. I also learned that timing can be uncanny, since I finally remembered the code to the key pad I never use at the exact moment my husband got the door opened. What are the chances?
I learned that you shouldn't assume that your husband will find things nearly as funny as you do.
I learned that, in spite of all this, our kids thought their vacation was pretty close to perfect. Which means, of course, that we will likely do it all again.
Except that next time, I'll be in the passenger seat.
Being some kind of helpful.