I'm sad to say that traveling rarely brings out the best in me. I like to travel, but I think I would like it even more if I had people; a staff to get things ready for me. Someone to pack the clothes and the car, carry everything into to hotel room, and then perform the Dog and Pony Show that comprises the Vacation Bedtime Routine for my children. Here's the thing: by the time 9:00 pm rolls around, I want to be relaxing with Rob, enjoying the luxury that is free HBO. I don't want to be refereeing a bedtime kick-a-thon in a queen size bed, while Rob tries to wrestle the baby into a portable crib that looks about as comfortable as a plastic covered foam mattress settled on a metal frame can be.
But worse than these inconveniences, I have realized that traveling - the actual time spent in transit - makes me grumpy at best, and mean, petty, and spiteful at worst. We sat in traffic on the highway for what felt like an eternity, and I could feel the irritation settle on my skin like a film. My jaw clenched tighter with each inch we rolled forward, staring at the back of the same tractor trailer, offering me $18.50 an hour if I joined their team. After listening to The Boy ask his litany of questions regarding snarled traffic, loud noises, our reasons for staying in a hotel, why Baltimore is in Maryland as opposed to Pennsylvania, why we leave our house for vacation, and on and on, I was thinking that $18.50 an hour for sitting in a silent, air-conditioned cab sounded like a pretty good deal.
By the time we made it to the hotel, I was beyond irritated, and had tipped over the edge into insufferable. I was short with Rob and the kids, ordering them around like their feelings didn't matter. However, after check-in, I was placated by the amenities of the hotel. We don't stay in fancy places, but with three kids, we like to have a little kitchen area and a separate bedroom. Homewood Suites fill the bill perfectly, and even though they are a member of the Hilton family of hotels and our money is probably going to pay all of Paris' lawyers, I have to admit that I am loving this hotel just a little bit. The wireless internet alone would have won me over, but they have complimentary breakfast and dinner, as well. I'm thinking about moving in.
Now we just have to work on convincing Baby Girl that vacation is not synonymous with all night crib party. The child will not give up the ship at bed time, and we have been letting her stay awake so that the other children will have a fighting chance to fall asleep. Plus, she is seriously cutting in to our free satellite television time. As I sit here, Older Girl and The Boy have fallen asleep at the ridiculously delightful hour of 6:30 pm (thank you, Baltimore Inner Harbor), while Baby Girl has held on until 8:30 with no signs of slowing. She is reveling in her solo time with us, and I think she's as smitten with the laptop as I am. We are hoping to lull her into a deep sleep by watching the History Channel's Revolutionary War lineup, but that only seems to be working for the adults.
Happy Independence Day, my friends, and may you be enjoying yourselves as much as we are, and may your children fall asleep before "the dawn's early light."
"Where liberty dwells, there is my country."
**UPDATE: It is now 9 pm, Rob has moved on to Mythbusters, and Baby Girl is dropping the family's shoes in all of the empty drawers of the television cabinet. She is a machine, people.