To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing this letter somewhere in the mountains of northern Maryland or maybe south western Pennsylvania. Geographically speaking there is little to no visible difference as far as the landscape is concerned. I am accompanied on this trip by my husband of eight years and my three children who this July will turn 6, 4, and 2 respectively. It’s hard to say how long we’ve been in this steel cage on wheels. Days? Weeks? Months? My husband assures me it’s been a mere three hours, but I think he’s gone mad. I’m certain my mind is going too. These may be my last coherent words before my mind is totally lost.
I’m sitting in the middle row positioned behind the passenger’s seat, and it is my job to keep the children happy while my husband drives. My children don’t like being confined and/or restrained in one spot for more than a few minutes as often is the case will little children. I knew, however, that this trip was going to go poorly when twenty minutes into the drive the oldest called out, “Are we there yet??”
I think we actually may have traveled through some sort of worm hole or time warp, or perhaps I’ve died and gone straight to hell. The stubble on my legs proves either we’ve been in the car for an extremely long period of time or I forgot my weekly shave. Either way, this is just terrible.
I prepared as much as anyone could for a thing like this. Aside from everything we’ll need if we ever reach our final destination, the car is stocked with as many distractions as possible for the 6+ hour trip. We even made some new purchases: The dual dvd player we bought (plays one dvd on two screens) has proved a blessing and a curse. Sure it’s a distraction, but when have you ever seen three kids agree on any one movie selection regardless of age and gender. I packed some new movies, films which I’m sure are terrible, but at least I haven’t seen them 6,937 times like the other selections hand picked by the children themselves. As of right now, I’ve been subjected to the second half of Toy Story 3 (for the third time in two days), Despicable Me, Happiness is a Warm Blanket Charlie Brown, and now we’re onto Cars (a real classic in heavy rotation since 2006). Given our current course and the speed at which we are traveling, we’re due to hit downtown Pittsburgh at rush hour, so I highly anticipate at least one more movie selection after the current 116 minutes of highly stimulating animation concludes.
We’ve had several near meltdowns, and even though the children just ate before leaving, the constant barrage of questioning regarding when they will eat next and what food will be served, is speeding me towards a meltdown of motherly proportions. Of course there are also smaller grumblings and back talking from “he won’t stop looking at me” to “I’m hot” and “Yeah, well, I’m cold” and my favorite “he’s breathing loud at me!”
The baby is also three hours past nap time and she.is.pissed. If I don’t make it out of this SUV that God forgot it may well be because my almost-toddler murdered me. Randomly and without cause she’ll cry out. As I scramble to determine the nature of her distress handing her juice cups, pacifiers or a toy, she’ll scrunch her face, yell and throw whatever I hand to her. The last time she screamed, I tried passing a pacifier to her which almost immediately came whizzing past my face at a velocity I never would have dreamed possible from a 22 month old. Thank God it hit the handle of the door becuase I’m certain had it hit the glass, it would have shattered. Upon further inspection, I’m sure it bent the metal frame of the door.
As I indicated before I may already be dead. It may have been from a physical assault from my toddler, or perhaps my brain just exploded from listening to the nonsense constantly being spewed behind me from the boys. Although, it could very well be from some of these world class drivers we’ve seen since around Baltimore. We’ve witnessed cars that passed two lanes of vehicles weaving in and out and one point even passed on the shoulder. There was an ice cream truck going 32 mph on the interstate, quadruple lane changes with no blinker and/or other discernible warning, a thousand or so people who were not utilizing the left lane for passing (although Marylanders do this in Delaware too, so I’m beginning to suspect it’s backwards here- slower traffic keeps left, not right), and my personal favorite, “Twinzies.”
Twinzies was coined when a car in the lane next to us would speed up and slow down to match our exact speed. No matter what, this car (van in this case actually) did, they wanted to be just like us. A ridiculous conversation between my husband and I ensued where we imagined the other car saying things like “Hey, how fast do you want to go? Oh, yeah? Me too!! Twinzies!!!” Then we imagined the family occupying the car rearragning their seats and changing clothes to match us exactly. Then they would pull along side us, honk and point and mouth the words “Twinzies!!” at us. This conversation went on for a solid thirty minutes (just about the time it took us to lose our car twinzie), and it was then I realized my husband was nuts. I guess I’ve lost it too since I coined the term. Initially Joe just called them “a bunch of real friggin assholes.”
Anyway, as I sit here and ramble on as I drive through this unending stretch of road taking me up one mountain and down the next, I feel full of emotion. I want you, dear reader, to know that even though I’m sure I’ll not survive, or may already be dead, that you meant so much to me. No matter my situation, whether it be my boys emptying a giant pack of tampons out and throwing them at each other in the front yard, or someone getting poop every where, or even the time they let a stray dog in the house, you…you were always there for me. Sometimes with a relate-able tale to help me feel less alone, or an occasional experience you would share that would trump my own, but no matter what, I felt like you were there with me. You lifted my spirits, helped me laugh through some (funny yet) traumatizing parental moments. No matter what situation I was in, I was not alone.
So as I sit here facing an eternity of driving hell with three now hostile almost animal like little creatures with a husband who has lost his mind, I feel comforted knowing somehow, someway you’re here with me. Perhaps even though I am crippled with despair in this very moment, one day you and I will laugh together and say it wasn’t so bad. Perhaps we’ll sip our wine and say “Hey remember that time you took 3 kids under six on a 6+ hour car trip?” And we’ll laugh and laugh…I hold onto that tightly now as I sit now with tears in my eyes knowing that this trip has not even started and in just a couple days we’ll be in the car doing it all over again. In the case that this is hell and I’m already dead, I guess I should get used to repetition. Either way, pray for me, dear friend. Pray.for.me.
Your friend always,