So I spent the day packing for my 2-week trip to visit my family in Maryland. I've made the trip by myself with both kids many times before, particularly during the last deployment, but haven't done the drive for 6 months now. The kids are a little older (i.e. more whiny and loud!) and I'm kind of dreading the drive. But as I was packing I realized how different my version of packing is than my husband's.
Whether he is packing for a short training exercise or a long deployment, he gets a packing list, and is expected to get everything into a few relatively small bags. But at least he is only packing for himself. When I pack, it is for 3 people, and 2 of them are completely irresponsible. They can't even be trusted to bring their own toys! So I spent the day rounding up all of the "essentials" that I use every day at our house, which won't be at my parents' house. Not just clothes, shoes, and jackets, but also plastic plates and utensils, baby gates, portable beds and high chairs, baby medicine, favorite DVD's, snacks, etc. I feel like I am packing up half the house! It is currently piled in my dining room and I am searching for the energy to throw it all into the van. I want to do it tonight because my mental checklist for the morning is already pretty long: take out trash and recycling, turn off heat, run dishwasher, load snacks and ice in cooler, get kids dressed, fed, and in car! Not to mention all the little things I have taken care of in the last few days: paying bills early, cleaning out the fridge, getting a neighbor to collect the mail... all this to leave the house for a few weeks! When our husbands leave, they pack up their stuff and just walk away. I wonder if they have any idea of all the "little" things we keep track of to keep the house and family running smoothly?
But hey, at least we have the luxury of being within driving distance of family! How do all of you who have to FLY home with children handle the packing and baby gear????