My fam­ily doesn’t do road trips well, even the short ones!

Fingal Independent - - NEWS - Jus­tine O’Ma­hony

WHEN I think of the con­cept of fam­ily road trips I tend to think of Wal­tonesque images of a load of chil­dren crammed into the back of a car with Ma and Pa in the front beam­ing with pride and singing ‘Coun­try Road take me home.’

Let me tell you–That is NOT the re­al­ity. Not in our house any­way and I’m sure we’re a pretty av­er­age fam­ily. Ev­ery car trip we make that is more than 15 min­utes is fraught with ar­gu­ments, ten­sion and cho­ruses of ‘are we there yet.’

A 45 minute trip to Wex­ford at the week­end had us all fight­ing be­fore we even re­versed out of the drive. The Youngest de­cided to throw a wob­bly be­cause we’d packed her ipod charger in the boot. The fact that she couldn’t ac­tu­ally use it in the car ap­peared to be be­side the point. She wanted it be­side her and when she didn’t get her own way, spent the en­tire jour­ney say­ing, ‘Fine! I’ll just be bored the whole way. With NOTH­ING to do. Ever again!’

Mean­while there was al­most fisticuffs be­tween The El­dest and Him­self over the way The El­dest threw his stuff into the boot, up­set­ting Him­self ’s care­fully com­part­men­talised pack­ing sys­tem! I peer in the rear view mir­ror to see Fa­ther and son squar­ing up to one an­other.

‘Don’t use that tone with me!’ says Him­self with his best Strict Fa­ther Voice. ‘Yeah, what­ever dad,’ mut­ters the Teenager provoca­tively. I get out and tell them to get in and then tell every­body to just shut up for five min­utes .

A loaded si­lence en­sues for about...five min­utes af­ter which The Youngest pipes up. ‘Shall we play a game?’ We all groan as we know the only game she wants to play is ‘Who Am I?’ a game that is amus­ing for the first twenty times, af­ter that you just want to stick pins in your eyes.

We play it. We let her win. Then we put on some mu­sic. The kids want the ra­dio, I want Now That’s What I Call Clas­sic Rock and Him­self wants New­stalk. The kids get their own way. Of course they do. The rest of the jour­ney passes in rel­a­tive peace. The Teenager says he feels a bit travel sick, The Youngest says she’s hun­gry. I wish I had ear­phones so I could just plug my­self in.

Sud­denly some­thing dawns on me. ‘We’re go­ing camp­ing in France in July’ I tell Him­self. ‘Yeah so?’ ‘We are driv­ing down to Spain for a week af­ter that.’ Him­self looks con­fused. ‘Yeah I know all that.’

‘It’s a 9 hour drive. How did we ever think that was a good idea and how are we go­ing to sur­vive it?’

Him­self goes a bit pale. ‘How did we not think of that? Do you think we could put them on a bus or a train?’ I tell him we could but I think we might get ar­rested.

‘Do you think you could get your hands on some Val­ium then?’ he asks me des­per­ately.

I’m work­ing on it!

THE TEENAGER SAYS HE FEELS A BIT TRAVEL SICK, THE YOUNGEST SAYS SHE’S HUN­GRY. I WISH I HAD EAR­PHONES SO I COULD JUST PLUG MY­SELF IN

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