Last weekend I took a road trip with my 8 year-old daughter Heather and my Mum. Let me tell you, it was one of the best weekends I have had in ages.
It was particularly special because it was for Heather and I to compete in our sport. Both of us! Heather has been doing Physical Culture for a couple of years now. Me? Not so long. Just a few months. This was the first time we’d been on the road for the purpose of taking part in a competition. The first of many, I expect.
Well, almost the first.
We went to Gunnedah too recently but that was a day trip. I don’t know if it’s defined anywhere but a day trip and a road trip are very different things in my book. A road trip involves at least one over-night stay and a day trip does not. Being ‘on the road’ and ‘taking a road trip’ are one and the same thing. There you go.
Consider it defined.
So my little girl has chosen Physical Culture as her sport. She plays Netball too and does Karate one afternoon a week.
She also wants to take singing lessons and play piano. Sure! LET’S DO IT ALL!
No, seriously. It does sound like a lot, especially after yesterday’s post about kids having so many organised activities that they don’t know how to resource their own play anymore. But for the moment I am happy for my kids to try as many things as we can manage. They’ll soon find their ‘thing’ and prioritise but in the mean time, let’s open as many doors as possible I say. For now it’s Physie for Heather and Lindsay loves his soccer. He also does Karate and Oztag but is pretty keen to try tennis and basketball too.
Yes it sounds crazy-busy but the thing I love about my kids being involved in these activities, apart from the obvious (skills development, teamwork, building self-esteem, socialisation etc.) is that it involves time spent as a family away from the monotony of the daily routine. Quality time.
My trip away with Heather might have been a first but it wasn’t the first for Mum and I by a long shot. We’ve travelled all of the roads out of Tamworth too many times to count when I was a kid, as I competed in Highland Dancing. We also travelled for netball, softball and horses! Now there’s a part of my childhood that I’ve never written about. Horses. But there are a few stories, some of them hilarious, brewing there for sure.
This road trip was just like old times for Mum and I. Having that time together, just the three of us, road tripping to Port Macquarie for Physical Culture was like a holiday. It really was.
Doesn’t life seem so busy from the time you get out of bed until the time you get back into it? It is Go. Go. Go. for us. My kids are out the door at 8 am so the whip starts cracking at around 6.30 am and I tell you, it doesn’t stop.
Then in the afternoon they are no sooner off the bus at 4.15 pm and we are in the car motoring to after-school activities. If not, there is homework while I’m in the kitchen cooking a triple batch of something-or-other so that we have food to eat on the afternoons that we are out of the house. Home, shower, homework, dinner, bed.
Oh, you wanted to talk to me my darling children? Tell me your stories? Sorry, there’s no time for that. Rush. Rush. Rush!
Road trips are a God-send. It is time spent with my children. Long trips in the car, even if they are through the winding ‘vomit’ mountains (we take tablets), is time spent together.
I’m not a fan of screens in cars. Windscreens are okay. Ha! No, I mean TV screens, iPods, iPads. I know they come in handy for little ones and I have used the one’s strapped to the back of the front headrests when Lindsay was small but they stopped working and we never got around to replacing them. Can’t say we’ve missed them. We sing. We talk. We play games, all sorts of games and when we’re fed up with that we listen to music. Good times. Some whingeing yes. But mostly good times.
When we were in Port one of the things I loved the most was the conversations. Any time I ducked into the shop, the servo, the loo, whatever, I’d hop back into the car and catch Heather and Mum having conversations about all sorts of things. Eating at the noodle bar, we’d have conversations. Hanging out in our motel room, we’d have conversations. Visiting the beach, we’d have conversations. Spending the day together at the Physie comp, more conversation and driving back home through the windy vomit mountains? You guessed it. More conversations.
Our Physie Club held a beach photo competition while we were there. So we put our best foot forward. And won!
I felt like I reconnected with my Mum and Heather while we were away. It reinforced my appreciation and respect for Heather especially. Since our trip I have felt more tolerant of her quirks. And there are many! As we grind our way through our daily routines at home she daydreams, dawdles, demands attention, gets emotional and stirs her brother and creates conflict, as little girls are want to do. She has many good quirks too! But this time spent connecting with her away from all of those daily chores made me more tolerant of the less desirable quirks. I feel such an enormous sense of affection for her. I just love her to bits.
As they say, the best gift you can give your child is your time. And that’s one of the reasons I love to get on the road. It does take time and money. But the pay-off is worth it.
Do you enjoy a road trip?
Been anywhere lately?