Welp, I wish I came back from the road trip with good news to report, but unfortunately, my car broke down on our last leg, and it has totally bummed me out. What a shitty way to kick off summer.
That said, the boys and I still had a fantastic time! So I’m choosing to focus on the pros instead of the woes!
Pro – The boys are getting along better than they ever have!
Having kids nearly six years apart can be a challenge. I often say I have two “only-children.” Having the kids far apart was by design. I was never a mom who wanted two babies and definitely not two at the same time.
I will never forget how disappointed The Teen was as a child when his infant brother was too young to play with. Then, when the baby was old enough to interact at an appropriate level, he was no longer interested as now his little brother was just a pain.
I think we have just entered the sweet spot for both of them. The younger one is maturing to a level that the teen doesn’t mind, and the teen is more tolerant of his little brother’s antics as he transitions into an adult.
It was an absolute joy watching them interact on this trip.
Pro – The Boys were interested in everything!
I am very used to the “eye roll.” If you are a parent, you know exactly what I mean. You try to engage the kids, share your interests, take them to cool places, and usually, they just, well, roll their eyes.
On this trip, I was shocked at how much they engaged and interacted at all the places I took them!
Our first stop was the Bamboo Forest at Rutgers Gardens.
They both enjoyed the spot, explored…
and even took pictures.
When we stopped at the U.S.S. Albacore, they were both in awe of the sub, and we spent lots of time on the self-guided tour just exploring.
They genuinely seemed to enjoy each other’s company as only brothers could. lol
They even humored me at most of the roadside attractions or made fun of them in a way that was absolutely hysterical.
Pro – We did things together and individually.
As you know, there are people you can travel with and people you can. not. travel. with.
My goal is to make these kids independent, curious, resourceful, easygoing, and unpretentious. To accomplish this, I try to foster their interests, let them explore solo, do things with them individually and together, and most importantly, lead by example. Now that they are older, I usually take at least one opportunity to do something without them entirely.
This year it was a quick jaunt to the Bass Harbor Lighthouse and a drive around Acadia National Park.
They had no interest. So, I figured it was the perfect time to show them that you don’t need anyone else to do something you want to experience. There are no hard feelings or drama. Everyone makes an effort, compromises, and enjoys the trip in their own way.
The 11-Year-Old and I headed out to explore and skip rocks in Maine without The Teen.
While we did that, The Teen relaxed in the hotel.
Earlier that day, The Teen and I shared a lobster while The 11-Year-Old took my camera and explored.
He snapped these, and I love them…
Pro – We laughed with and at each other.
As seen in the roadside attraction photos above, they both laughed at my cheesiness, and I am totally here for it.
All in all, I laughed more on this trip than any of our previous ones, and it’s simply because my kids are funny as hell.
Pro – We had to overcome adversity.
I swear, I have at least one scare or catastrophe to overcome on every trip. Ones I can remember include: almost not finding a place to stay in both California and Montreal, an issue with our rental car in Utah, a spray-paint-in-the-eyes incident in Texas, a tumble on a hike in the Hollywood hills that resulted in a pharmacy first-aid trip and this year, well, my car “blew up” in Vermonth on the last day of our road trip.
I say “blew up” because I STILL don’t know what’s wrong with it. After three days and over over $500 I finally got it to an approved mechanic for my warranty. Whether or not they will cover the repairs is a whole other story. All I can do is sit tight and wait.
The boys maturely handled the situation. It didn’t hurt that we were stranded with at least a slow connection to the internet. They entertained themselves for four hours while I was on the phone, trying to figure out how to get us out of the middle of nowhere and, ultimately, home.
We ended up staying an extra night in Vermont and, with the help of some friendly strangers, got to a hotel room for the night. The following day they were STILL getting along.
Here they are, all smiles walking to breakfast the next morning.
Overall it was an amazing trip! I need to add the photos to our Mother-Sons albums, but honestly, today was the first day I had the time and the energy to look through all the pictures. My stress and anxiety are through the roof. I’m very much in crisis mode and dealing with things day-to-day. Being car-less is driving me crazy!