The Luck of the Irish: A MomCom

Let's be honest, how many holiday accessories serve a functional purpose? And how many times have you had to use some unexpected to avert a tummy crisis on a road trip? Of course, Katie has the ultimate mom-com about this very real part of mom life!

By Katie Frawley



leprechaun hat

Spring Break is upon us, and summer is rolling in close behind. That can mean only one thing: family vacations.

For me, these trips always begin heavily front-loaded with optimism. Far from his laptop, my husband will unplug from work. Without the morning rush of lunch-making and sneaker-hunting, I will sleep in and awake refreshed, a Disney-princess-like glow upon my dewy cheeks. The kids breathe large, wholesome lungfuls of fresh air. We’ll eat heartily and enjoy drippy ice cream cones on shady park benches. No one will whine or sustain injuries. It will be glorious.

The reality is usually somewhat less idyllic.

Take, for example, our current vacation. My family and I are visiting my uncle in North Central Florida. He has a place with a guest cottage on Lake Santa Fe. The birds are chirping, the Spanish Moss is swaying lazily in the cypress branches. It really is quite lovely. The drive up here, however, was less so.

About 30 minutes after departing our home, I look in the back seat to see my 6 year old’s clammy, putty-colored mug staring back at me. His eyes were like pinholes. His jaw hung slack. Have you ever seen Lincoln’s death mask? He looked like that, but with hair.

“I don’t feel good, Mommy,” he muttered.

“Do we need to pull over?” I asked. But I could tell from the mounting panic in his eyes that there would be no time for a roadside pitstop. I scanned the car for an appropriate receptacle. I’d use my purse if I had to, but I was hoping to spare my favorite satchel this gruesome fate. That’s when I spotted it. Like Venus rising from the frothing waves or an angel gliding down from from the sun-streaked heavens: a leprechaun hat. My in-laws had dropped in the week before with their pre-St. Patrick’s Day tchotchkes in hand. They distributed a handsome green top hat for each of the kids, complete with gold-glitter buckle. I’m not sure how the hat made it from the house to my dashboard, but there it was, in all its emerald glory.

I snatched the hat and frisbeed it back to my son in the nick of time.

As his siblings averted their eyes, covered their ears, and pinched their noses (except the two year old, who found her older brother’s prodigious eruption highly fascinating), I breathed an enormous sigh of relief at my good fortune. I’d been spared the parental chore of scrubbing barf out of car upholstery. I am truly blessed with the luck of the Irish.

After this inauspicious start, the trip has gone remarkably well. Is my husband fully unplugged from work? No. Have I managed to sleep through the thunderous daily wake-up call of the kids pounding down the stairs at sun-up? Not once. But the sky is blue. The ice cream stand will be open tonight. The only injuries we’ve collected so far have been easily remedied with a bandaid and a kiss.

Perhaps my pre-vacation optimism sets the bar too high.

The picture-perfect getaway is hardly attainable at this wild and wooly phase of family life. So what if we can’t get through a single trip without some sort of unexpected mishap? Someday, the kids will be grown and our trips will be quieter, cleaner, more predictable. Until then, I’m going to enjoy the youthful chaos, the screaming laughter, the faces sticky-sweet with ice cream. I’ll keep my trusty leprechaun hat on hand though…just in case.

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