This week, for Thanksgiving, we drove eight hours with the babies, from Brooklyn to Pittsburgh. As the day of our departure drew closer, we wondered if we had made the right decision in not flying. We wondered if we were completely insane.
We had decided leaving early, at 4 am, would be our best option. We would put the babies, still in their PJs, in their car seats and hit the road. This, we hoped, would give us a couple hours while they were still asleep, getting us out of New York City before the morning rush hour or Thanksgiving traffic.
What we hadn’t factored into the mix, in addition to baby and traffic schedules, was the storm of the century advisory, which would hit the very night we had planned to leave.
“I can’t even describe it,” the radio commenters said of the traffic leaving New York the night before the storm. “It’s so horrible, it’s so horrible. A parking lot.” There were ice storms, tornado warnings, wind advisories. Batten down the hatches, because we’re blowing away to Oz, was the tone. A friend called me as I was packing. “Don’t forget to pack some emergency supplies for the car.” She mentioned jumper cables. I stuck a gallon of water and some baby formula among our supplies. I imagined us stuck with the babies on the highway in a white out.
That night I woke up at 2:30 a.m. to the wind driving rain against our window panes, shaking the house with a low moan.
At 4 a.m. we convened in the kitchen, where coffee was dripping, set on a timer from the night before. “Should we go? What about the weather?” We watched some online weather videos, looking for clues. The longer we waited the closer it got to rush hour, the closer it got to time for the babies to wake up, while the weather remained just as bad. The wee hours are not the best time for decision-making, but after about a half hour we decided to go for it.
We drove the first few hours out of New York in the dark, frantically. I was still wearing my coat, having jumped in the car so quickly. It was dark and raining, we expected to hit massive traffic at any point, for the babies to start wailing at any second, for the weather to blow us off the road.
But none of that happened.
The babies slept. They slept right through until 9 a.m. when we had to stop and get gas and thought we better feed them, though they weren’t crying. They slept for most of the whole trip. Also, we didn’t hit traffic, and the weather, though there was a bit of snow and rain, was fine.
I think the babies rather enjoyed the whole driving experience. When we stopped to feed them they were so busy chattering away and looking around we could barely get them to focus enough to eat. And they laughed out loud at being changed in our laps in the car.
Clearly we should travel with them more often. They are ready for adventure.