We arrived home last night after bedtime. We were pretty much on the road the entire day, leaving the Philly suburbs at 10 in the morning, driving straight to visit my grandmother at the nursing home 90-minutes away, and then spending the rest of the day and into the night staring at break lights on the Turnpike.
My kids were such rock stars. They only periodically complained of hunger and argued over only one book (which I’d given my older son as a Hanukkah present, and he didn’t give a fig about the book until his little brother expressed interest). As we crawled along at 14 mph, it occurred to me that we might run into a heavily crowded situation at the rest stop. What an understatement!
I clung so tightly to my children as we wove in and out of the herd of people, all trying to pee and buy coffee in one of those disgusting, still-unrenovated PA Turnpike rest stops.
My family typically has a pretty great system in rest stops. We all go into the family bathroom, change diapers, etc., and I nurse Felix while my husband takes Miles to wait in line for some sort of drink or treat. Miles fills up our water bottles while I offer Felix the other breast, the boys run a few laps around the rest area, and we hop back into the car.
Not this time! We waited and waited and waited while some family took a really unreasonable amount of time in the family restroom. The poor father in front of us stood with a suffering tween who felt scared to go in the
lion’s den ladies’ room on her own, and so they stood and waited and waited.
My husband and I decided to divide and conquer, and he took the baby since he has an easier time peeing while holding a child. I just had to endure my 4-year-old asking loud questions about urethra mechanics while we shared a stall.
After we navigated the angry swarm of people running in and out of those bathrooms, we were happy to find a nice booth under some fake plants to sip cocoa and nurse. The families near us actually engaged us in conversation–we made small talk complaining about the terrible traffic. Usually, when I’m nursing at a rest stop, other patrons act sort of frazzled and look away. It was so refreshing to share this frustrating moment with some strangers, totally ignoring the fact that my toddler was nursing away in my lap.
A few more hours of break lights, a few zillion replays of “Roar” on my smart phone, and my family was finally home to collapse in our own beds.
Did you travel for Thanksgiving? Leave us a comment to share your road adventures.