I never really understood how scary it was to travel with children until I had children of my own. I remember the days of hopping on planes only to discover a tiny tot kicking the back of my seat. Now I'm the one with the kicking tot and on the receiving end of many nasty glares. It's no wonder I have a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever I travel with the girls!
Recently, I had to face one of my worst fears of traveling with children. It was our family’s first weekend getaway in a long time because of my hectic schedule. We started driving to Asheville, what some people would consider a short drive from Raleigh. Most parents would consider it a long enough ride to have to entertain the kids. So I packed handheld video games, DVDs, coloring books and more to keep the girls busy. I thought I had everything covered, but then came a moment of what I like to call "mama drama."
It started just one hour outside of Asheville. My four-year-old said, "Mommy, I don't feel g…" and before she could finish her sentence let's just say something rather unpleasant happened. Before we knew it, we were pulled over on the side of the highway looking for anything and everything we could find to clean up and survive the next leg of our trip. We must have been quite a contradictory sight -- panic stricken yet trying to be calm for our little girl.
In my mind, I was beginning to picture the weekend. Miserable. But then, I had a Henry Ford “whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t” moment. I started to realize the weekend would just end up being whatever I expected it to be. As parents, we were at a choice-making juncture that was about to shape the next couple of days. We could choose to be miserable or we could choose to make the best out of the situation.
Despite the mama drama, we had a fun-filled weekend. Our little one never was tired but never got sick again, but we had a back-up plan in case she did.
The trip home was a far cry from we endured the previous day. Our four-year-old was armed with a camera and took pictures from the backseat. She snapped picture after picture giggling with each click. It wasn't until we were almost in our driveway that I decided to take a look at the photos that had amused her so much. And there they were… little family moments captured from the perspective of a child. It was the world from her eyes. There are pictures of the back of her father's head as he's driving... me turning around and smiling at her... her sister sleeping all cozy in a blanket... and a teddy bear named Rose saying "cheese."
Being miserable is a choice. As I looked through our little photographer’s pictures, I felt so thankful we didn’t go down that road.
Aysu Basaran is the mom of three and assistant news director for WRAL-TV.