Traveling for the holidays
Ah, December. It's a month I look forward to in a way, one that should be filled with evenings of hot chocolate by the fireside and sugarplum fairies. It should be filled with snow-covered trees and wrapping up in warm blankets with the rest of the family. Instead it's a month of travel, deciding to travel, and recovering from traveling.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. Hey--I live in New York City, and the rest of my family and my husband's family all live elsewhere. They aren't interested in coming here for the holidays since we have only a one-bedroom apartment and the cost for a hotel stay go from exorbitant to outrageous at the first ho ho ho. If we want to see family for the holidays, we have to go to them.
Before I had a baby I didn't really mind so much. Sure the traffic on the way to the airport was iffy and the possibility of the overly-full flights taking off on time was a myth but everyone was filled with the holiday spirit--or perhaps too much caffeine and sugar from Starbucks in the dining area--so it didn't matter.
Plus, after all the madness, my smiling family was waiting there for me at the other airport, waiting to give me hugs and presents and take us out to my favorite local restaurant because we hadn't eaten since 5:00 AM when we left the house in Brooklyn.
This year, however, we have a baby. We've road-tripped him before, as I did this past summer when we went from New York to Ohio into Kentucky and then up to Indiana on the way back. We rented a car and packed up everything we owned and the dogs and off we went.
This summer, however, the weather was delightful and we had plenty of time for the journey/ I was on maternity leave and my husband had oodles of unused vacation time at his disposal. We're considering taking another such roadtrip for the holidays this December, when the weather gets notoriously bad and I have basically no time off due to starting a new job.
Still, we're troopers, and the trip can be undertaken. Instead of taking two days to get there we'll have to do it in one. Instead of getting to see most of the parents, though, we'll only get to see one set. And I imagine I won't get to do much more than holler across the river to my pals in Indiana.
At this point, the trip won't cost us anything like it did last summer. We have our own car now with our own insurance and all that good stuff. We've made the trip with Mr. Pickles before so we know what works for babies and what doesn't. Should the weather get bad we can simply call off the trip--no reservations to cancel or money to be lost on airfare or any of that. All in all it sounds like a good idea.
We could fly but that would add to the cost. Plus the airports at this time of year are a total disaster where the individual has no say and no control over how poorly he/she is treated. Driving puts the individual back in charge in a way. Besides, I love a good roadtrip.
The only problem with this is the tiny amount of time off I have and the fact that there are millions of motorists out there with the same idea. And, during the holidays, they're more likely to drink, drive too fast. etc.
Trying to fit what should be a long-term trip into a few short days over one of the biggest holidays of the year sounds taxing at best. But, who knows? We haven't even made the decision to travel yet. In fact, we'd prefer it since we have an infant, if someone would come visit us for the holidays, for once.
The chances of that happening, however, are about as good as spotting Rudolph on the New Jersey Turnpike. It'll be an adventure, for sure, should we hit the road. At least we can decide to go at the last minute (or not)!