“Are we there yet?”
Simple words! They strike a chord, within the memory of any parent, who has travelled with children. This Christmas we decided to break with tradition and travel up to Sexy Sporty Dad’s family for the festive season. Rather than impose our whole family on any one person or family during this chaotic period we have taken a gamble against bad weather and booked a cottage deep in the heart of the Peak District.
It took a near military operation to be ready and organised to leave on time.
As the end of term bounded towards us I needed to find time to fit in a final week of school celebrations; nativity plays, and carol services all requiring our attendance. A works lunch, and evening celebration of Christmas cheer; have all found space on to the once clear calendar. Two poorly children laid low to the various bugs doing the rounds needing to be looked after and cossetted back to full health in time for the weekend trip added to the pressures.
Like every other family we had to meet up with family and relatives to transfer presents before the big day. Yet another trip to be pencilled in and the only time left to drop other items en-route to all the people we will not be seeing for at least a week.
Late at night or first thing in the morning I am moulded into my computer chair chasing online presents, long since ordered; now lost in the post. Do I buy alternatives or another one the same from a different supplier? What exactly will I do with a second one, if they both now turn up? Should I send it direct to the recipient as the item cannot possible arrive here before we leave.
A small card left amidst the mountain of Christmas cards from today’s postman greets me as I climb through the front door. We tried to deliver but you were out; we have taken it away again… please call us to re-arrange delivery between 9 and 1.
I call immediately but the office is already closed, please try later. I call first thing in the morning only to discover my parcel is already out on the delivery van, he will be with me sometime before 1pm. I try to explain that I am at work and will not be home but it can be left with a neighbour? Certainly not madam it is for delivery to you and needs your signature!
Whatever it is do I really need this hassle. I don’t even know what I am expecting that is that big.
I get home to discover the parcel has been signed for and delivered to a kind neighbour. Four bicycle racks for the roof of the car have arrived; to aid Father Christmas with transporting two Christmas bikes. We need the two extra for Sexy Sporty Dad and No 1 Son so they too can bring their bikes. I breathe a long deep thankful sigh that five just could not fit on top of the car. I will be spared the cold, damp, effort of keeping up with them all, along the muddy, potholed, old railway lines trails that cut across the Peaks of Derbyshire.
Have we got enough clothes, will it be snowing, raining or is there any slight possibility of seeing any sun. I wash, dry and iron on a daily basis each load planned to be the final holiday batch only to be presented with another pile of favourites not added to the already heaving wash basket. Have we all got walking boots and do they all still fit, these boys grow so quickly we seem to be continually replacing them. This is not the time of year to be buying shoes when there is so much else to be bought.
Another update on the Tesco shop, sensibly I booked them to arrive with all our food shopping late in the evening of our arrival. This is the third time that I have remembered something extra to add then changed my mind about other items. How much will we drink? How many meals will we be eating out with family? What will we doing about lunches, should I buy for them?
Most evenings I manage to wrap a few more of the ever increasing pile of presents getting them ready for delivery. Such a shame all the elves in the world are busy helping Father Christmas as I could do with a little help myself. The meagre pile for one child against the other worries me. Careful budgeting has equalled itself three ways, but the size of the presents does not balance. Will one child feel hard done by; fairness and replicating presents no longer works as they develop at their individual ages. So the pile stands, ready packed for the journey.
And we are off, up early and filled to the brim in two cars as we cannot fit luggage, presents and children in one car. I am permitted to take my new toy; an opportunity for me to show it off and make more wives jealous and more husbands question the wisdom of my husband’s precedence. It may only take two of us and the odd bag but it relieves the space limitations in the other car and I follow at a sedate pace sure in the knowledge I will not be speeding as I follow the four bicycles along the motorway.
“Are we there yet?”
Six hours on the road and “Yes we are there”!
Five nights and we shall do it all again in reverse.
I wish you all a very happy, safe and peaceful festive season.
Check out my cooking blog at Teatime Treats with Tiggy