On a recent outing, my family and I went hiking. Some outings are more successful than others. You have the slam dunks and the clunkers, but ultimately the goal is to spend time together.
One of the keys to our trips is the car time. We don’t have a television in our car. Old fashioned, I know. I understand a television in the car if you are going on a lengthy trip, but generally I am not into it. My children watch more than enough television, thank you very much. They can suffer through a car ride television less. So, we are resigned to talking or playing word games. Wholesome fun John-Boy. In reality, the key to a pleasant Bernstein car trip is the snacks. My wife packs foods to cover all food groups: healthy, salty, and sweet. Yup, she’s got it covered. Ultimately, however, my children are drinkers. Often, they are asking for a drink before we even get out of the driveway. Once they get the drinks, the countdown begins as to when they have to go to the bathroom. So, a chunk of our ride is spent on negotiating over when the children can have their first drink. These negotiations are draining, and I think we could learn from the recent debt ceiling negotiations – less acrimonious.
Upon reaching the hiking spot (after a bathroom break, drink negotiations, bagel pickup and gas fill-up), we filed out of the car and headed to the trail. Someone who did not know my family at all would have gotten a good read on each of us within the first 5 minutes of us hitting the trails. Shamai was asking to be carried and whining for some apple juice, Bezalel after clashing with his brother, was 10 steps ahead of everyone else, Sara was holding the backpack with the food and fiddling with the camera, and I was nibbling on a bagel trying to keep up with Bezalel. Things got better. An hour later we reached the end of the trail. Shamai was coaxed to walk on his own (carry me, carry me – please no) the whole way, Bezalel did not fight with his brother, Sara got to take pictures, and I enjoyed my bagel. Splitting up into twos was a good idea. The children couldn’t fight with each other, and they could have a parent to himself.
After sitting at a picnic table and enjoying some of those snacks, we headed home. With Shamai sleeping and Bezalel zoned out listening to Sara’s headphones, it was a peaceful ride home. That’s family time.