traveling with kids

i’m still thinking a lot about our california climbing trip we recently returned from. i’m still not keen on being pittsburgh-bound. i’m sure it’s annoying for everyone to hear about my discontent, but at this time of year especially, it is so very strong and real! the shortening days and fallback from daylight saving time have thrown us back to early darkness, and i’m already counting the days until sometime in february when we’ll notice the daylight lengthening and we can look toward spring. is it just me, or does it get harder every year? this year, i’m steeping in my thesis, and i need to be mentally able to jump in and out of it at any moment–that’s what the writing life is like with kids: spontaneous start, spontaneous stop. i’m not on my game as often as i’d like to be, and i’m going to blame it on the weather. and i have even forgotten to mention that sunny days in pittsburgh are already few and far between–and anytime we’re supposed to have a sunny day, it only means that the sun will show it’s face from maybe noon to three, and the rest of the time the sky is gray from actual clouds or haze due to the temps and the rivers and hills or something. here ends my yearly diatribe on wanting to move away from pittsburgh. i’ll try to wait until next year to talk about it again, but i can’t promise anything.

so anyway, traveling with the kids– the beginnig of my journal for the trip was a meditation on something that wendell berry wrote in a book about the red rive gorge in kentucky. he writes how our bodies travel around in cars and airplanes at these super-fast speeds and that our minds can’t catch up, resulting in a sort of depression. i’ll quote him because i don’t think i said that very well:

 We seem to grant our high-speed roads and our airlines the rather thoughtless assumption that people can change places as rapidly as their bodies can be transported… Our senses, after all, were developed to function at foot speeds; and the transition from foot travel to motor travel in terms of evolutionary time has been abrupt. The faster one goes, the more strain there is on the senses, the more they fail to take in, the more confusion they must tolerate or glos over– and the longer it takes to bring the mind to a stop in the presence of anything.

and then this is what i wrote in my bishop journal:

and so the trip begins on the plane, and i hope we can keep these ideas in mind when it comes to the kids, that they are feeling this sense of confusion, and loss, and of being a stranger in a strange place.

we are flying somewhere over ohio or illinois and i have to pee , and i’m in the window seat. beside me kathy holds a sleeping mckenna–she [mckenna] is feeling the  desperation more than the rest of us. even seb and oren understand that we’re flying in an airplane to get to california. by day’s end, we’ll be in a hotel  near vegas, and hopefully all will be well, travel-wise.

i need to remember our past trips to bishop. the last one was almost exactly five years ago with 5-month-old sebastien. he flew well, and we received a standing ovation from the old people going [to vegas] to gamble. i wasn’t strong that trip, and we were frustrated by the weather–a cold front came through with 60 mph winds, so being outside with seb was like torture. well, i think that was when we were realizing that climbing with babies wasn’t optional, but it wasn’t easy. i wonder what this trip will be like–easy? moderate? after climbing with babies for years, i don’t think it will ever seem hard again.  but i guess i shouldn’t count my chickens before they hatch. we have been in an uproar for about a month now, with all the family stuff [family reunion at the end of sept] and then sickness and then schedule changes. we are already so far from routine that it will either make or break this trip. maybe it will make it easier to continue to be off routine.

matt c. was with us on our last trip. i can’t believe he put up with us and our baby. i wonder what really went through his head as he tip-toed about the room with us after seb was in bed at 7 pm. i vaguely remember watching “friends” in his room with the door closed maybe drinking beer. we still had a good time…

i think the other significant thing about the two trips (this one and the one before when seb was a baby), at least, what made me connect them together, was that we stayed in the same motel in the exact same room both times. room 15 at the bishop village inn. this time it worked great for us because seb and oren got their own room and they could go to bed at their bedtime while the rest of us did whatever. it didn’t work so well for jason and kathy because they had to either go to bed at mckenna’s bedtime or have meckenna go to bed at their bedtime. next time, we’re hoping that all the kids can be in one room and we’ll all be in another. haha.

oh well, there are some more california thoughts. i have a 4 yr old and a 5 yr old demanding i read to them (not really), so i should go pay attn to them.