It’s hard to pack a family of five for the holidays, especially if you live in the South where traveling even further south less than two hundred miles can mean a fluctuation in temperatures akin to perimenopausal hot flashes. Not that I know— yet. I’m just saying.
I was wearing fall clothes when I left my house in Greenwood, Mississippi and within three hours I had to change clothes before I blacked out in the passenger seat of my mother’s car. Which may have been preferable to the chorus of “She’s Looking At Mes” and “Are We There Yets” coming from the back seat.
I’m a procrasto-packer. I made that word up. Just now. Totally on the fly. Because I’m a writer, and I can. I procrastinate packing until the very last second. Part of this has to do with the fact that my laundry is never “caught up,” whatever that means. The later I wait to pack, the more clean clothes I have to choose from. The other reason is mostly that I hate packing. I am disorganized in the best of circumstances and living in the South doesn’t help. November means the heater runs all night long and the air conditioning comes on at noon. No matter how much I try to plan ahead and check the weather before I pack my family up this time of year, I always get it wrong. I should just embrace this fact and start packing one change of clothes, clean underwear and a toothbrush for every member of my family. But that would be too easy.
I am a firm believer that if I pack every prescription medicine my children have been given in the last two years that I can ward off sickness. If I don’t take it, we will need it and I don’t want to buy things that I already own. So I bring it all. Ridiculous? Excessive? Maybe. Am I willing to be proven wrong? Absolutely not.
Because if you are going to travel six hours in one direction with three kids sitting within arms’ reach of each other? You’re going to want to be as proactive as possible. This particular trip I was even less organized than usual due to the frazzled state of my two brain cells. One of them has been busy re-reading and editing the final manuscript for my first book. That brain cell was a little overwhelmed since I’ve read those particular words no less than 487 times in the last three years. My other brain cell was busy freaking out that the publishing industry is not at my beck and call and that (spoiler alert) I cannot control everything that happens in my life.
Which boils down to the fact that we made it to my sister’s house with a huge bag of prescription meds, 30 pairs of underwear, full winter wardrobes which no one could actually wear, bathing suits and toothbrushes. But the truth of the matter is, my family loves me so much that they couldn’t care less if I wear my pajamas to Thanksgiving dinner… as long as I’m wearing clean underwear, my teeth are brushed and I’m medicated. And I’ve totally got those bases covered.