We are leaving for Texas tomorrow.
We are renting the last available minivan in Cincinnati and driving 16 hours with four children strapped into their carseats. We are driving with 40 hours of audiobooks, a cooler of snacks, four sippy cups and four special blankets. We do not think this equipment will make the trip pleasant, but we comfort ourselves that at least we are not taking the train. Thank you, invasive nanny state, for child carseat laws. Not because they save lives, but because they keep the whining an extra foot or two removed from our ears.
We are leaving tomorrow and my home is a mess. Every trip I tell myself that this time I will leave a clean house. This time I will make sure I have an ordered home to come home to. And every trip, as the departure time draws nearer, I abandon more and more planned cleaning in a desperate effort to get us ready to go on the planned date. One year we blew out a tire two miles down the road and we could not leave town until the next day. That was the only time my house ended up clean before we left. Mostly clean, anyway.
And every trip, as the departure looms and I begin cutting extraneous chores from my to-do list, I approach the tipping point between feeling like a failure for the state of my house and ditching self-criticism as one more unnecessary chore. Self-flagellation is a distraction. We mothers, we warriors of the family vacation, we ain't got time to bleed.
There is a load of laundry in the machine, the children are watching their second movie of the day, the youngest is napping, our stomachs are full of Chinese leftovers and doughnuts, and I, patiently awaiting the next load to fold or pack, am blogging. Take that, guilt. I defy you. I will leave you here at home as we drive blithely into the day, sojourners to welcoming arms and grandma joy. You have no power over us.
At least not until I get home.