Driving a gaggle of kids, crammed in a minivan, jammed with stuffed animals, blankets, books, dvds, cheezits, juice boxes and enough hand sanitizer to purify the nastiest of truck stop bathrooms from St Louis to Orlando. Yes, I was in the throes of summer vacation. For some this would be the making of a suburban horror tale. For others a test of herculean willpower and self-discipline.
Piloting a silver minivan slicing across the midwest past miles upon miles of corn fields driven by the desire to reach the happiest place on earth. I found myself slowly succumbing to the hypnotic trance of the white ribbon separating the east and west lanes. Just as I was reaching the numbing state of a cruise control comma, I was jolted back to reality. A moment of clarity, enlightenment, an epiphany. Maybe it was the bag of BBQ pork skins, the peanut M&M’s, two Red Bulls, or inhaling noxious fumes wafting forward from sleeping children ripe with junk food and juice boxes. Whatever the reason, at this precise second in time a smile exploded across my face. At a moment when typically I would be fighting fatigue, ignoring kicks to back of my seat and doing all I could to find my happy place, I was whiplashed back to the minivan.
No need to escape.To float away to a deserted beach, a vineyard in Napa or a soft leather chair with the Sunday Times. I was there, smack in the middle of the happiest place on earth. A minivan full of saccharin loaded, vibrating kids writhing in their seats nearing eruption to reach Orlando. I took a deep breath inhaling the experience. Turned my head to witness the calamity and mayhem in the back seat. Turing back to the windshield, I caught my smile in the mirror. I slowly exhaled happiness.
Being the Dad is my happy place, and being in the midst of a summer family vacation is more fun than any ride on any roller coaster in the best amusement park on earth.