Springfield, Springfield It's a Helluva Trip

I'm taking the holidays off to focus on my family. Please enjoy this old post from the Chicago Moms Blog. It was originally posted in July 2007.

We’re headed to Springfield in a few weeks. No we’re not off to Vermont, the newly-minted Land of Homer, to see the over-hyped Simpson’s movie, we’re headed downstate to the Land of Lincoln, our very own state capital.

For some reason I can no longer recall, or even fathom, we decided to take a family trip there when the boys were only 2.5 and 4.5 years old. D'oh! What were we thinking? It was horrible, hellish. It set the standard by which we judge all other family travel disasters.

First off, the drive down took about 1.5 hours longer than expected. Meaning 1.5 hours more for our energetic young boys to grow restless and frustrated trapped in their car seats. And the weather was horrible, so we couldn’t just let them play at a rest stop along the way. We got off to a bad start and things only got worse.

It turns out the town of Springfield (back then, anyway) pretty much shut down on the weekends. The children’s museum was closed on Saturday and Sunday. Okay, Sunday wasn’t a surprise, but Saturday? I hadn’t bothered checking the hours because who would expect a kid’s museum to close on weekends?

Our finest, most gourmet meal of the trip was at Ponderosa. And as for lodging, it turns out our hotel was hosting a Jon-Benet Ramsey type beauty competition. While Smartypants has always had an eye for the ladies (at 3 he posted his first bedroom pinup—a Baby Gap ad featuring a pregnant Marlee Matlin) he was clearly confused by all these tarted up little girls. These prostitots gave DH and me the creeps…and they were everywhere.

But the worst part, the worst part was getting the boys to sleep. If we had been on an airplane we wouldn’t have merely been kicked off, we would have been banned for from flying for life.

That I sit here struggling to recall the specifics of the boys’ behavior is a sign of how joyously far removed we are from toddlerhood. There was yelling and screaming and crying, and not just from me. It was horrible. For a minute there I thought DH was going to drive back to Chicago that night…possibly without our kids…or me. The boys fought sleep hard, but sleep eventually won. Finally. Thankfully.

Until a freakin’ frat party in the hallway woke us all up around 2:00 AM. Did we jump in the car and just hightail it home, putting an end to our misery? Honestly, I have no idea. I must have repressed the memories and I’m not sure I want to dig them up.

But I am ready to replace them. At 7 and 9, the boys are old enough to have a sense of history and Abe Lincoln’s role in it, and I think this trip will go much smoother. Plus, we’re traveling with a set of cousins as well as pair of grandparents, (and maybe a Nintendo DS and a Gameboy) so we’ve got some distractions. We’ve also heard nothing but good things about the new Lincoln Museum and Presidential Library. I very much hope this trip will put the spring back in Springfield for us.

(P.S. Writing in 2010 to say it was a lovely trip with our extended family.)

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