Keeping the Peace on Family Road Trips
Warm transparent lake water lapped over my shoulders, smelling of summer and snails. Sand slipped up my toes. Family camp at Camp Jim looked like red lifeguards on floating docks, life-jacketed preschoolers squealing from yellow water slides, Bible songs and stories ringing within wooden chapels, and families holding hands to pray around cafeteria tables.
Our family just arrived home from five days in northern MN, where we met the great staff and volunteers of Camp Jim, and ate meals, swam, and studied God’s word alongside families from throughout MN and Iowa. Mark was the keynote speaker, and I was thrilled to speak with the women on two occasions also.
Three thousand fifty-two mosquito bites later, we drove home, crammed into a muggy vehicle beside fast-food cartons and a new hognose snake. As the sweat beaded up and traffic slowed to a one-lane crawl, we determined to stay kind and patient with each other. Knowing how easy it would be to end the trip crabby with each other, we made concentrated efforts to avoid that.
“Shhh, only the four year old is allowed to have verbal meltdowns,” we declared. “We can do this. We can use God’s help and strength to be patient with each other.”
We told jokes, laughing at our inane humor. The quips mounted and built on each other, mingling jokes in a way that was funny only to our sweaty, tired family of five. “If a zebra laid an egg…”
We played the alphabet game. We dozed off, and accidentally released the snake in the car. It didn’t get far. We worked at more jokes, and danced along to music, wiping sweat from our foreheads.
Eventually familiar sights raced by our windows, and we pulled into our driveway. “We’re home!” Bulging suitcases and sleeping bags ascended the stairs, mail slipped around my fingers, and the phone blinked at us.
Thank you, Abba, for a great week at family camp, and for speaking through us. Thanks for helping us get home cheerfully and kindly too. What a joy to laugh together.
Hi you, sorry for my absence the last five days. What have you been up to? What fun road-trip strategies does your family have?