In my last post (https://genericdad.com/2010/09/01/cant-we-all-just-get-well/ ) I teased a review of our first family trip to the mountains of New Mexico. 2 kids, 2 frazzled parents and a wagon full of belongings…
My family recently acquired a cabin in the Sierra Bonita mountains of New Mexico. Upon hearing this news we decided that we must get up there and check the place out immediately. The long Labor Day weekend provided just such an opportunity to embark on a most memorable journey.
Based on previous expeditions, we knew that Lil B was not a good passenger and so we decided to hitch up our wagon and ride to Amarillo late Thursday night. The theory behind riding at night is simple. The kids are used to sleeping during this time and they tend to sleep much the same during travel. The first leg of the journey starts flawlessly. We hit our schedule to be on the trail by 7:00pm. The only significant event from this leg of the journey was the awesome Pink Floyd-like lightning show that we were treated to for two hours. The subsequent huge thunderstorm with high winds and torrential rains was not quite as entertaining. Regardless, we pressed on and made it to Amarillo in near record time.
After a brief overnight stay in Amarillo, we hit the trail for leg two of our expedition. This leg of the journey was one of the more difficult to endure for several reasons. The first reason being that we had joined into and official wagon train with my family and being from a small town, they do not like to ride on major trails. This forces the wagon train off the beaten path so-to-speak. In fact, there was a portion of the this leg where the trail degraded from paving-to dirt-to-boulders. Yes, I said boulders…Imagine yourself trying to navigate an unfamiliar trail littered with boulders while the wagon that you are following kicks up so much dust that you cannot see the trail to avoid the larger boulders, so you inevitably hit all of them. Couple that with a one year-old screaming at the top of his lungs because he is being tossed around like my skid-stained undies in the dryer. Regardless, we pressed on and were eventually rewarded with the site of a beautiful log cabin…where our right rear tire immediately deflated due to the boulder gash it received on the way in.
The next 48 hours are almost blissful enough to make one forget about the arduous journey that had just transpired, nor dwell on the one that lie ahead…almost. There is just something about being in the mountains that washes away all of my stress and my problems fade to the back of my mind. I don’t know if it’s a lack of oxygen due to the altitude, or maybe I am just at home in the mountains. I truly hope that I end up living in a mountainous location some day, but I digress. I got to take M fishing for the first time and it was a beating to say the least (could be an entire post of its own). However, she had fun with her cousin of similar age throwing rocks and catching crawfish. She also got to take her first (of many) ride on a 4-wheeler with her Grampy, which she loved. Lil B was happy just to have someone hold him and he even got to taste test many of the indigenous rocks. Grammy saved the day by bringing the girls their own new backpacks crammed with activities. They had a blast.
Of course we knew that the trip had to end, but as we were loading up the wagons I could not help but feel as though we had just gotten there. The third leg of our expedition got off to a rough start. We stopped no less than three times to let Cousin A tinkle, then we made the mistake of stopping for lunch in one of the desolate towns down the mountain. A long hour later we are back in the wagons and headed east to Amarillo. Just as we reach what has to be the absolute middle of nowhere, we see a sign “DWI Checkpoint Ahead”. WTF? That can’t be right, can it? As we top the next hill we are greeted to six NM state troopers at the intersection of state highway X and nowhere road Y. I am sure I was missing something, but there just didn’t seem to be enough traffic on the back roads of eastern NM to warrant a six-vehicle DWI checkpoint…thank God I only do heroin. After the mystery checkpoint we arrive in Amarillo for a brief overnight stay.
The fourth and final leg of the journey was a blur because I had to find a happy place within. Somewhere between Vernon and Wichita Falls I am contemplating those skiddy drawers again. Only this time I am thinking of using them to gag my screaming son. Poor little guy is just not built for the road. On the bright side I think he may have a future in opera. At one point of the final leg my 3 year-old had to intervene and put a stop to bickering going on in the front seat. It is at this point that I check out for the rest of the way home. The wagon and horses were on cruise control…and so was I.
We Shall Return
We will be going back to NM for sure. However, our wagon training days are officially over. I love you, Southwest Airlines…and I love your free drink tickets.
People start having children for a myriad of reasons ranging from pregnancies planned down to the minute detail, to just plain ole accidents, or even adoption. We planned both of our children with careful and exact detail. We employed the use of ancient Mayan and Aztec calendars, along with astrological signs and a fortune teller. In fact, we had the timing nailed down so precisely that my wife became pregnant with both children on our very first try. I suppose for those that struggle to conceive, this would be a blessing. For me, it was a beating. I missed out on all of the no-strings-attached love-making that had been promised by the ancient prophets…and my drinking buddies. Instead, it was wham, bam, thank you sir. I felt that I had been sexploited. Nonetheless, I got over it and we now have two beautiful children with promising futures, at least we like to envision their futures that way.
Many parents have plans for their children’s futures. Some parents start planning their children’s careers at day one. I imagine these people sitting in their nursery and baby has just finished up a nice feeding with mom and is handed off to dad. You might think that dad is going to rock the baby to sleep, or swaddle him up for the night, but instead he whips out his Make Your Baby A Doctor For Dummies handbook and they immediately go into illustrations of the nervous system. There are, of course, parents at the complete opposite end of this spectrum that have, and never will have any ambition for their children’s futures. I envision a typical scene in such a household where the baby is in the garage scrounging around for food on the floor. The mom is just settling in with her heroin rig. She flicks the air out of her needle and the slips away into unconscious bliss. Dad is not there because he is doing 5-10 for assault with a deadly weapon. These are extreme illustrations and most parents fall somewhere in between.
Like most of you, we find ourselves in the middle of this spectrum, if not more toward the front half. Of course we have a plan for our children’s futures. While we may not be doing flash cards with the bones of the body on them just yet, we do some things that are helping our children progress toward our vision of their future. Our work with M (our 3 year-old daughter) is tracking nicely and we are starting to see some positive results. B (our 8 month-old son) is just crawling now and starting to pull up on things. His training will really start once he is walking. I have already bought him one of those little walk-behind toys to help him master walking. This toy will be the start of his training. You are probably asking what our plan is for our children that requires us to work with them and train at such an early age. I am going to provide you with a glimpse into my children’s futures.
Picture, if you will, the wife and I in our summer attire. We are lying on barcaloungers by the pool and catching some rays. The wife is sipping on a cocktail that is topped with a miniature umbrella and I have an icy imported beer. I look over at her and say, “Should we give the kids a little break?” “Oh I suppose. They have been working really hard lately”, she responds. “Well, they work hard because they have been properly trained”, I say as we clink our drinks together. Oh. What’s that? You want to know what this dream sequence has to do with the kids?
Remember that walk-behind toy of B’s that I mentioned? What about all the games that we played with M that involved picking up dirty clothes or dusting furniture with her stuffed animals, or even moping the floor in her costume? These activities seem meaningless when you look at them individually, but as a whole, they are the foundation for our children’s futures. A future that enables the wife and I to enjoy those cocktails, and enjoy those barcaloungers. I think you are getting the picture now. We are training our children to be our slaves. B’s toy has been training him to mow the lawn since he started walking! All of the games that we played with M that were so fun to her were training for her future as our house keeper! It will be only a matter of a couple of years before the rewards start to roll in.
You may be thinking that they are just children and that they should not have to work so hard. The beauty of this is that they think that they are playing games, or playing with toys! I think this future will work out just fine for them. It could be worse. They could be scrounging around on the floor for food while the wife rigs up and I snuggle up with my cell mate, Leroy. In fact, while the kids are “playing”, I think I will go do some online shopping for barcaloungers.