We returned home from Florida last night. I always get a little depressed when we return from vacation. Especially this year knowing that this may be the last year for my daughter to make this trip with us. I laid in bed this morning, our bags are still unpacked, the toiletry bag is open, and only the items needed to get ready for bed were thrown on the counter. Thoughts of the trip ran through my head, so I decided to get up and write about it. Light music is playing on my headphones, a candle is burning, and coffee is by my side. My daughter disappeared to a friend's house as soon as we got home last night, and my husband and son are still sleeping. I can unpack later.
We drove 15 hours yesterday with only 4 quick stops. My family typically packs up the car on the day we leave Florida, drive about 9 hours and stay the night in Jonesboro and then we complete the 6ish hour drive in the morning. This time, we decided we would pack most the car the night before, get up at 5am, jump in the car and drive all the way. I really thought my husband was kidding about getting up at 5 am, but when my alarm went off, he was up, and the lights were blasted on my face. I laid in bed a little bit longer listening to the waves through our opened bedroom sliding glass door. Finally, I jumped out of bed and said, "Let's do this!"
I washed my face, threw on clothes, packed up the rest of my belongings and headed to wake up the kids. Belligerently, my daughter gets up. My son jumps up and is ready to go. He and my husband were the ones that wanted to get up this early and drive all the way. They were excited to realize that if we got on the road before 6 am, we could get home by 8:30 and not stay in some, as my son would say, "Cringy," hotel.
You learn a lot about people on road trips and vacations. As I mentioned in my previous blog, we spring break in Florida with another family whom we are close with and my ex-husband, his wife and their little boy. For the most part, we all get along. This trip was no exception. We had a lot of fun, and we created some great memories that will last a lifetime.
The only small nuances were dealing with teenage mood swings. Deciding what day your family was cooking and what to cook. A little too much Spike Ball competition with a lot of testosterone pumping. Some don't like poop songs, horned fish or watching The Bachelor. Some don't like to play Spades with their wife. And some don't like to be last.
All of us, however, like to hang on the beach during the day, and at night most of us like to play cards. My husband can take it or leave it. I like to play and can be somewhat competitive. I have really tried to be more patient and just go with the flow. However, on one card hand, I had decided to go nil. If you don't play Spade's, this means that you try not to take any tricks and your partner protects you as much as they can. This was the very first time I had decided to go nil, and my husband was my partner. This was probably not a good idea from the beginning. We have learned from past experiences that we don't make good card partners, but here we were. Long story short, I had to take a trick.
Yes, I sulked! More mad at myself for not being able to do it and a little upset with my husband for not protecting me. My husband was done playing cards after this. I did apologize to him, but he wouldn't let it go for two days. The rest of us can joke around about it, blow it off and try again, but my husband holds on to it. In the end, he did apologize for not letting it go, but we may opt for different partners the next time we play cards.
We all have things that set us off. Playing cards with me is one for my husband. As a Spring Break group, we all know this now. I really just want to help him and win, but he sees it as me telling him what to do and nagging.
We learned that my ex-husband really does not like The Bachelor. My son can be a poor sport when it comes to Spike Ball. Most importantly, we all learned that we need to wear a lot more sunscreen on the first day. Your burn will not turn into a nice bronze the next day.
We all made it home safely last night. Some a little faster than others. We are typically last getting to the beach and last getting back home. My son, being competitive in nature, gets annoyed with this especially getting to the beach. As I mentioned earlier, we usually don't drive all the way home as everyone else does, we stay the night somewhere. I understand my son wanting to get to the beach with everyone else, but I learned on the way back, that getting home first is also a "Thing"!!
We left the beach at 5:45am. My husband drove. He is not the fastest driver, but he did drive a little above the speed limit yesterday. We left an hour before everyone else and made only a few quick stops. One being a little longer because Burger King sounded disgusting to someone in the car and we had to wait in the long Wendy's line. Side note, you can make healthy food decisions while travelling. At Wendy's, I got the grilled chicken salad and used the guac as my salad dressing. It was good.
We stopped in Jonesboro to get gas, go to the restroom and change drivers. We all text and keep track of where everyone is when we travel. I found out at this stop that somehow, another party in our group, in a different car that left an hour after us, is now 15 miles ahead of us. Not realizing at this time that getting home first is a "Thing", I asked how they did this. My husband said that they must of gone a faster route, but it just didn't make sense.
I took over driving, and I do tend to have a lead foot. Not the best trait and it is something I have been working on. I tried to set the cruise control, but could not figure out how to work it in the van we rented, plus on those curvy roads with a lot of traffic, cruise control was not an option. My husband tends to hold on for dear life as I drive and subtlety makes little noises next to me when he is not happy with my driving. This tends to make me anxious, and at times we may bicker back and forth. Aren't road trips fun? My kids don't notice for the most part as they are nestled in the back with their headphones on mainly, so they don't have to hear our annoying podcasts and our little spats from time to time. They pop their heads up primarily to say they are hungry, bored, pick on the other sibling or have to pee.
We are now at the end of this 15-hour drive. We had about two hours to go. I'm driving at a nice pace listening to our podcast trying to drown out my husband's mumbling about my driving when, let's call it by its code name, "The Silver Bullet," flies by. I speed up to see if it is them. It is, so I slow down to get over and get behind them. They have a radar detector (which I didn't even know still existed). Since they are apart of our spring break group, friends and family, I figured I would just follow them and use their radar detector to our advantage too.
I try to keep up but to no avail. Our little rental van was not built for speed and my husband about had a heart attack. As he red knuckles the "Oh Sh*t," handle, I decide it is time to make our fourth and final stop. We all needed a little breather, gas and a pee break. I was also going to let "The Silver Bullet" know that they flew by and flashed their brights at us. Did they even know it was us? Well, they did now.
It was at this stop my kids inform me that "The Silver Bullet," likes to get home first. I don't know how true this is, but I do know we all can be a little competitive. I know I can - card game. I know my son can be - Spike Ball. But now I know "The Silver Bullet" is too!! Let's leave an hour later, but still, beat everyone home. I had now figured out how and why they managed to get in front of all of us. Some don't like to be last when it comes to getting home.
Like I said in the beginning, you learn a lot about people on road trips and vacations. Some good, some bad. We all aren't perfect, and we shouldn't want to be perfect. Perfect doesn't exist. We are "Perfectly Imperfect"! We are family, we are friends, we love unconditionally, and we compete fiercely.
I do miss the sound of the waves and the laziness of vacation. I miss having my kids around and not having a choice about it. But, after a vacation and a long drive, with a lot of different personalities, there is something about sleeping in your own bed in the peace and quiet.
I will treasure ALL the memories that were made. Until next year, let's "Toothpick"!! ;)
"The tans will fade, but the memories will last forever."