You are standing in your hallway surrounded by bags filled with who-knows-what-they've-packed.
It's meant to be a three night deal but with the mountain of gear you're expected to cram into your people-mover you could be going for ten. Weeks, that is.
Voices shout from all directions...
"I need those bags in the hallway now...!"
"Mum I can't find my..."
"Have you packed your toothbrush...?"
"Are those bags in the hallway yet...?"
"Have you packed warm clothes...?"
"Mum do I have to take shoes...?"
"Where are those bags...?!!"
You finish vacuuming the house, cleaning the bathroom, changing the bedlinen, washing the dishes in preparation for your house sitters - who walk in just as you discover your toddler has left a trail of crumbs behind him clear enough for Hansel and Gretel to follow.
At about which point, you ask yourself, why are we bothering???
Going away is just so much effort.
Ahhh but it's worth the effort for all the fun and good times and family bonding you do while you're away, I hear you optimists say. The memories, Simoney! The memories you are creating!
I don't deny that time together away from the familiar is very beneficial for all those things.
And three hours of I Spy while locked in a people mover packed to the gills with games you won't play and clothes you won't wear is not that bad. It could be worse.
Like... your preschooler could clobber his sister over the head with Buzz Lightyear and pull her hair.
When she clobbers him back World War Three could erupt complete with an air raid siren that screams non-stop for forty minutes... "LET ME OUT LET ME OUT LET ME OUT!"
Peace negotiations are impossible. Isolation is out of the question as the car is packed to the gills with games you won't play and clothes you won't wear.
You might decide to call someone's bluff. You might stop the car and let her out on the side of a country lane, drive up the road a few hundred metres, turn around and come back.
If in that instance, you had hoped that this terrorist might be shocked into compliance... you were wrong.
Does this look like the face of a kid that would ever back down?
She is unperturbed, playing with stones in a lay by. Refusing to re-enter the vehicle.
Unmoved. Unshaken. Unrepentant.
What now? you ask yourselves, remembering too late that this is the child who has never caved when this tactic was used in Kmart's Toy Section but would happily wave you off as you turned the corner of the aisle, not bothered in the least by "OK Mummy's going now..."
We drive off. Turn the corner. Hide the car behind some bushes. Spy on her from behind a fence. Wait it out. Surely by now this kid must be worried?
Eventually we get her back in the car. Oh the joys of family car trips. This was the return leg after a fun-filled memory-creating adventure....
So surely it was all worth it? The memories and warm fuzzies outweighed the shouting and packing and forgotten jackets and lost dollies? Its just the travelling that sucketh, right?
Er, yeah. About that.
The night we arrived somebody started puking. Yep it was the same somebody who made that darn car trip so much fun.
She puked all night.
I held her bucket and tucked her hair behind her ears.
I shushed her and cuddled her. She was an angel.
She puked off and on for two days. We sat on the couch and watched fifty thousand Animated Movies...
...while the boys went out and had memory-making adventures.
Then it was time to come home. And I've just told you how much fun that car trip was!
Adventures can be lotsa fun, but as Dorothy said to Toto, There's No Place Like Home.