“Every decade my brain loses its ability to recall painful events and instead translates the hard data into what neurologists call “palatable memory” which in layman terms means “lies”. This explains why women go through child birth more than once and why I drove my family to South Carolina from our New York home for Easter vacation.
We last ventured on this magical mystery trip in 1999 when we had one small infant that was easily put into a coma with a teaspoon of Benadryl. Still, the journey was torturous enough for me to swear off driving more than 30 miles with my family.
And yet in 2006 my brain failed me as we made our vacation plans. It did not process the fact that I have two more children or that I am seven years older and much more fragile and delicate. Instead it said “It will be fun!”
The fun started on Holy Thursday. After two hours, three potty breaks and one severe case of motion sickness we finally pulled out of the driveway.
By the time we reached the New York city border we had our second case of motion sickness. I felt like the captain of the Titanic. Once the stomachs settled down there was an argument over which movie they were going to watch. This lasted until the Verrazano bridge when I ended the arguing with a brilliant parental tactic, I destroyed all the movies. The crying continued until the Pennsylvania border where I pulled into the first Blockbuster Video I could find and purchased $250 worth of movies.
By the time we reached North Carolina the third child, not wanting to feel left out, took her turn vomiting all over the car. We stopped at a local convenience store and I wondered why I was the only person in there wearing shoes. Even the clerk was shoeless. I bought a bottle of Windex to clean the car but drank it instead hoping to put an end to this misery. It didn’t kill me, but upset my stomach enough that we needed an extra seventeen or eighteen bathroom stops. We arrived at destination a mere five hours later than planned and I spent most of the week lamenting over the ride home.
But my brain was at work again, or to the point, not at work. By the end of the week I had forgotten the joy of the trip down and was ready to tackle the return. How much worse could it get? Unfortunately, the answer was… a lot. It was basically the same trip as the way down, add torrential rains for 800 miles, a five hour closure on Interstate 95 and a much, much bigger bottle of Windex.
Knowing that I cannot rely on my brain to prevent this from happening again, I have had all my children tattooed with these words “do not drive with me”. Cruel but effective. They have the option of having it removed when they grow up. Maybe the smell from the car will be gone by then.