Most people dread long car rides with kids. The bickering and squabbling, the pestering and fighting, the I-have-to-go-to-the-bathroom and how-long-until-we-get-there sagas. Aside from those “minor inconveniences”, I love those long rides. I love having everyone in one place where I know they’re safe and within reach. I love the conversations, the trivia games, and the cooperation that’s necessary to make a drive a success.
For some time our children have tried to get us to buy a DVD player for road trips and we’ve resisted. Last night, as we returned home from visiting our college boys, I was reminded why it is that we’ve stuck to our guns and refused to cave in to the pleading. A DVD may have prevented the “I don’t have anywhere to sit!” (right, in a 15 passenger van?) and “Tell him to stop!” and “Can Shane move back to the front?” But, we persevered, worked it out, and eventually heard six siblings ages 5 to 17 playing an organized turn-taking story telling game. For over an hour we heard the joyous sounds of laughter accompanied by impersonations and characterizations. They had so much fun with it that, after we got home, they asked to go one more round with Mom and Dad before going to bed.
Family relationships don’t just happen by chance, they have to be worked on and worked out and I think ours all got a little stronger last night.