They say your life changes when you have children, and I suppose that’s true. But it never really hits you until you go on a road trip.
We drove for two days (each way) to visit relatives for Thanksgiving. This is nothing new. But everything about the trip was.
Remember when you could load up on caffeine and sunflower seeds and drive until the tank dried up? With a baby you’re lucky to see both of a town’s city limits signs (in and out) before you have to stop. There were times – I swear – when the gas gauge hadn’t budged off “full” before we hit an exit.
I used to love hitting the greasy truck stops, decked out in a ball cap, faded jeans and wrinkled tee-shirt. The truckers would grunt or nod their heads as you walked by in a testosterone-saturated acknowledgement that you passed the macho test. That doesn’t work when you’re carrying a pink baby backpack and wearing a binky on your thumb. By the end of the trip I was clothed in sweaters and chinos, and we ate at McDonalds.
I recall the days when we would cruise down the highway to the Eagles’ “Life in the Fast Lane” cranked up so high the windows vibrated. This time it was different. I just spent over 2000 miles listening to lullaby music – or worse – children’s sing-along songs.
Have you ever listened to the words of some of those tunes? When I wasn’t struggling to stay awake (when the lullaby songs were on), I heard – over and over – what they were saying. “Rock-a-bye Baby”, for example, is frightening. “When the bough breaks, the baby will fall, and down will come baby, cradle and all.”
What a nice image to implant in a 10 month old brain.
“Ring around the Rosie” is a cute song too. Except the words reportedly refer to the Great Plague of London in 1665 that killed a hundred thousand people. This is what our kids are learning. (Come to think of it, that’s what WE learned. No wonder the market crashed.)
Do I even need to mention the three blind mice?
I have to admit, though, there was one song with a real nice message:
May all your dreams come true
May life be good to you
May happiness follow you your life through
May all your dreams come true.
I like that. Except that tonight, when I dream, all I’ll see are falling cradles, butchered rats, and bubonic plague.
And everything will be pink.