Under Siege: Taking the Circus on the Road

**Note from the Editor** So happy to have Dave back for another Friday! I hope you enjoy his writing as much as I do. And if you feel so inclined… leave him a comment and tell him so! Happy Friday my friends! -Kel xoxo

As I am a slave to my efforts in making my wife happy, I agreed to take our annual 4th of July trip to her parent’s house in Western Pennsylvania again this year.

I say “agreed” in that there really wasn’t any choice, and even if inside I knew it was going to be a chaos and scream filled trip, testing our sanity and pushing the boundaries of our breaking point, I was going and there was no way around it.

The mission of this trip, as with any trip we’ve taken since we had the first of them, was to take our 3 little girls (Sydney, 5 and Twins Emma & Maddie, 22months) to Grandma & Grandpa’s house in rural, Western Pennsylvania, visit family and friends and then return home a week later, safely. It’s expected that we would be nursing wounds sustained on the trip, mostly in the form of injuries to our sanity, but also, it seems, physical injury in some cases (Emma, it turns out, is a bit of a masochist … She didn’t go a single day, didn’t miss an single opportunity to add another injury to what ended up being a pretty impressive list of them by trips end.)

The reality of it, the ugly truth about these trips, is that beyond the sweeter parts of spending time with family and friends we love is that, although it’s only a week long in actual travel time, it really turns out to be a lot longer at the end of it all.

What the fictitious “Visiting the In-Laws” travel-brochures (which I’m, of course, making up for dramatic purposes) don’t tell you, is that your trip will be three weeks long, give or take. It turns out that the week or so preceding the actual departure day, the stress of preparing for and knowing what you’re about to embark on this exercise in chaos…it all begins to build, in ways similar to how you might find anxiety building in the week leading up to an appointment with your dentist for root canal work done in a week is stressful before hand…then comes the root canal (or, in this case, the 4+ hour long flight with two lap-children and a 5yr old who has some substantial skill at playing the Wild Card in such circumstances) … and more root canal (spending a week out of our natural organized and controlled habitat, but rather in one of the most non-childproofed and family-filled houses in the Eastern United States…all with two, now incredibly more mobile, frighteningly curious and wildly mischievous 22 month olds ). Did I mention that there was no anesthesia? Oh…yeah…that part.

I’ve painted a pretty picture, haven’t I? It makes you want to pack-up and take a cross-country trip with your own midgets, just to see what it’s like for yourself, right? Well, I will admit that amongst all the crazy and, forgive me for saying it again, screaming (because there was a lot of screaming on this trip.) I will also admit that being in these environments that were new to us, and often times filled with hazard, requiring constant attention be paid to their every move, really made their individual personalities come to the fore: The Social Butterfly was more obviously butter flying around than normal; the Super Cautious one was exactly that, watching her sisters be crazy all over the place from a safe distance; and the Daredevil one dare-deviled it so much that I suspect she set new records for the number of bloody-noses, fat lips and face-plants one 22 month old little girl has ever given themselves.

The injuries aside, it was really fun to watch them explore this new world, and to watch them grow. It’s amazing how quickly they emulate other kids that they encounter along the way too… as a matter of fact, this, the 3rd week of our trip, the back-at-home-deprogramming portion of the trip, we’ve been focusing on breaking them from new habits that they formed during their crazy week in Pennsylvania.

Did I mention that Emma, the daredevil, has maintained her streak of excellence-in-face-planting each day since returning? On a Side note, her propensity for injury on this trip has allowed me to field-test my newest pair of cargo shorts. I found that I could easily carry an entire first aid kit in the pockets of the right side alone. (**Editor’s note… this made me laugh. -Kel**)

…And tonight there was talk about planning our next trip back East around Christmas. How much damage can these girls do in the snow, I wonder.

So…How’s your Summer going so far?


  1. Cass says:

    “out of our natural organized and controlled habitat”! bwaa haa haaa!

    Oh, Dave. I so understand where you’re coming from! And I think many do. Glad you made it home in one piece!