Not Griswold wannabes, but our family recently loved a vacation on the road
by Matt Ryerson
Jul 09, 2014 | 483 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
We recently took a family vacation. This family vacation included a nine-hour car ride. This car ride included three children— ages 8, 5 and 2 — a pregnant wife and a husband/father who, like his father before him, likes to make “good time” and hates to make unnecessary stops for little things like food and potty.

So, while any family vacation is always a good vacation, the potential to have a “Summer Vacation” like the Griswolds of Chevy Chase fame was ever present.

Times have changed from the days my parents took us on a summer vacation road trip by throwing us in the back seat without seat belts with my brother sitting in the middle on the “hump” (if you don’t know what the “hump” was in the back seat, you are probably too young to read this column; stop now and find a comic book store) with the hourly fight because his leg was touching mine.

The “golden years” of simplicity or the “good ol’ days” as I’ve heard them called ... Ha!

Are you kidding me? What a joke! Do you remember the “good ol’ days?” Driving 80 miles an hour down the highway with all the windows down because there was no air conditioning, wind batting our heads so much you couldn’t hear anything below a scream. Nothing to do for hours on end except to play the license plate game (again, if you’ve never played the license plate game ... too young, go get your iPad and read an eNovel) which became boring in about 4.2 seconds.

Fortunately, today is different. We have all sorts of tools to entertain children while on a long car ride (and air conditioning to make it more comfortable). We have computers with educational games. We have books that talk to nonreaders. We have portable DVD players that allow children to watch full-length movies at their convenience. Did you know a one-way trip to Florida is the equivalent of six Disney classics?

Did you know that for daddy’s who would pull out their remaining hair if they had to listen to all of those Disney classics, they have audio books you can download to your phone? Did you know that I know every single word to several children’s films, but have never once watched them ... because they are played in the back seat while I am driving!

At the start of this journey our son asked us to download a specific game for his gaming device which we happily did as we knew that was worth at least three hours of silence. He was so happy he simply said, “I want to surprise you with a gift that makes you just as happy!”

My wife responded with, “Oh honey, just your spirit of wanting to do that is gift enough!”

After a moment pause, we hear from the back seat, “You’re welcome.”

You may wonder what kind of parents we are to throw all this technology at our children as pacifiers. You may judge us for being lazy, of being inadequate. I say ... we stayed sane! Have you ever been in a car with three children for nine hours straight?

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(Editor’s Note: Matt has a beautiful family ... all remained sane on this latest family vacation. The family includes his wife, son, two daughters, Tucker the family dog, G.G. or T-Cat (depending on who you ask) the cuddly kitten and five chickens. “Father Time” is published in alternating Wednesday editions of the Cleveland Daily Banner.)