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When my sister and I were small, we lived with my parents in Northern Indiana, transported from my parents’ hometown of Dayton, Ohio, due to my dad’s job. Ashley was not even born yet when we made the trek to the little ranch house on County Road 19. We lived in Indiana until I was 8 and my dad was transferred to Richmond, Virginia.
When my mom was feeling lonely for family, she would pack me, Ashley, and a tape recorder with “Wee Sing Bible Songs” in it to go to Toledo to see her sister and our cousins. From Bristol to Toledo was a mere two hours and apparently worth having to listen to “The Lord said to Noah, go and build an ark-y, ark-y” sixty-two times.
If I remember right, the only time we usually trekked to Dayton was for Christmas. For Thanksgiving, we went to cabins all together with the large family clan. During the summer, we headed to East Harbor, Ohio, to go camping for a week and visit Cedar Point.
You know how far it is from Bristol, Indiana, to Dayton, Ohio?
According to the ever-credible and insanely helpful Google Maps, it’s 4 hours and 10 minutes.
It’s all relative, isn’t it? To my mother, 4 hours seemed like a very lengthy drive when she had been in her hometown all her life, growing up and being wed and bearing a child within miles of her sisters and parents.
Nowadays, Mom and Dad drive from Philadelphia to Dayton probably three to four times a year, and to Nashville several other times (about a 14-hour drive). My mom, who until I was in college would not step foot inside an airplane due to a bad experience and fear, has flown to Nashville to see Libbie at least five times since her birth.
For Mr. V and me, it was nothing to make the 6-hour drive to Dayton several times a year from Nashville. But this time, with a child who cried hysterically in her carseat for 45 minutes because she could see her pacifier but not reach it, I’m beginning to see why my mom would drive 2 hours but not 4.
We scoff at the decisions of others, thinking they are being silly or irrational. I’ve laughed many times over my mom’s hesitance to drive a mere 4 hours in the car. But now that I have my own small child in the backseat, I can see quite clearly: it’s all relative.
There must be some kind of math equation: how much you want to see your relations – how whiny your child currently is / how many hours you’ll have to spend in the car. Plus the square root of i.
Suffice to say, I will miss my parents at Christmas but if I had to make a 14-hour car trip with Libbie, I might have thrown myself out the window.
I hope your Thanksgiving travel and festivities were pleasant and warm! And there were no howling children in your backseat.