As I write this column I am sitting amidst four still-to-be-packed bags for a trip which is going to be week long. This is a chaotic scene that plays out every time the family heads for a vacation — small trip or long trip doesn’t matter. The number of bags only increases depending on the length of our stay. We gave up the idea of travelling light the day we decided to have children.
I envy those moms who look in supreme control of their kids while travelling; as for me, I have always been and I am sure I will continue to be the hassled, headless chicken kind of mommy. And yes, I am happy to also be blessed with two children who are of the kind all air travelers complain about — noisy, running-across-the-aisle types.You can totally imagine how unstoppable they are in the train. Now, before you judge me — oh wait, it is okay to judge me — let me tell you that this behaviour is due to extremely high energy levels, which come forth in full strength as soon as we reach the airport or railway station. Dire warnings of punishment aren’t helpful.
Okay this is moving away from what I wanted to write about. Yes, the packing before the trip. Most of the packing is for the ‘just in case’ or ‘what if?’ scenarios. So let’s say if we are packing for sunny Goa, my children’s bag would still have something warm to wear. Why you wonder? What if they catch a cold if they get into the sea and spend long hours there? The clothes that are packed would make one wonder if the trip is for a month or for a week. Then of course there are the medicines — again all dictated by the same ‘what if’ logic — what if they get fever, stomach ache, nausea, diarrhea, constipation etc. You get the drift?
Now, to the next area of concern while packing for a holiday. I am guilty of packing food from home too. Even if we are travelling within the country, I pack for a battalion, not just for two kids. The ‘what if’ situation in this case being, ‘what if they do not like what they get served at the restaurants, can’t let them go hungry can I?’
The last thing (this probably ranks highest in priority for my kids) is their various gaming gadgets. The children are okay with missing some of the above mentioned items, but they can’t imagine a trip going well without gadgets. The whining through the trip is totally avoidable!
Did I mention the books that we carry for the kids? Okay, let me not even go there. All this packing starts one week before the day of the departure. Every time we return from a trip, I promise myself that I will not over pack - the promise unfortunately doesn’t stay strong by the time the next one is planned.
The idea is to be prepared for all eventualities should there be one if we are away from home — to have a home away from home. Till the time I am in charge, the motto is well begun is half done…so what if it is overdone. I am sure this urge to over pack will change as they grow older and start packing for themselves. Hope float