If you don’t believe some creatures eat their young, you’ve obviously never hit the open road with teenagers in tow.
Every road trip I’ve taken with kids follows the same pattern. We load up the vehicle in high spirits. We’re finally going on a vacation. YAY!
I plan lots of fun road activities, pack oodles of healthy, mess-free snacks, and think of a dozen or more conversation starters. What an opportunity to get to know my kids, right? Mile after mile of uninterrupted time for visiting, learning what they think about current events, and discovering what’s happening in their worlds. We pull out of the driveway and it begins.
“Are we there yet?” my daughter asks.
“No,” I say, “if you look out the back window, you can still see the driveway.” “I’m hungry,” adds my son.
I toss him a carefullypackaged bag of snacks.
He rummages through it. “There’s nothing to eat here. Can we stop at a diner?”
“No, we just left the house.” I take a deep breath. “So, what are you learning in school?”
A chorus of “nothings” echoes from the back seat.
“What do you think about Russia invading Ukraine?” A series of mumbles is my only response. I glance in the rearview mirror. Both teens have their heads bent over cellphones. “Hey! Didn’t I tell you no phones? Hand them here. Right now.”
More mumbling and grumbling, but the cellphones end up in the front seat. I try again. “What would you like to do during summer vacation?”
No response. I look back. Both kids stare petulantly out the window. I sigh and turn on the radio, keeping the volume low.
Whispers begin in the backseat: minor bickering between the siblings. I turn the radio up. The bickering continues and grows louder.
“Mom! She’s looking at me.”
“He’s breathing my air.”
I crank the radio as loud as it will go. Silence descends in the backseat, and we cruise a few peaceful miles down the road. I lower the radio volume.
“Are we there yet?” the kids say in stereo.
I jerk the truck to the side of the road and throw it in park. “Yes. Get out!”
GLENDA THOMPSON is a columnist for the Pleasanton Express and is currently writing a series on the perils of parenting. Glenda resides in Charlotte where she is hard at work on the second novel in a series about Texas Rangers with dark secrets. Her first novel, Broken Toys, is available on Amazon.