The plaintive call from the children as we cruised up the highway enroute to visit Dorothy’s parents, or perhaps as we were on the way to my father’s house, both destinations in country Victoria. One journey of more than four hours, the other an hour or more travelling with two, and later five, children, all anxious to get through an interminable time of isolation and tedium. Does that sound familiar? Perhaps not being ensconced together with another six people in a confined space, and certainly some readers may even say, “lucky you, I’m on my own!”.
For my family, those journeys were not always boring; mostly they were but with an age span covering more than twelve years the children’s attitude and reaction to long journeys was varied and different over the years, as indeed ours was, too. So much was dependent upon ‘where we were at’ in our total life journey, about what we were each sacrificing, all for the common good of spending time with our extended family. A weekend away from work was for me a welcome break, and for Dorothy a change from caring for we six others to be in the bosom of her loving, caring, family. For the children well, that depended – their inability to not complete their school assignments (neglected all week, or more), to swim or play sports or hang out with friends or pursue their hobbies and interests (and there were many of all those) – the absence was sometimes not welcome, but always a delight on arrival.
Of course, those long trips didn’t happen all that often, maybe every three months, and when possible, during school term breaks. Most weekends were totally filled with a multitude of family and individual activities and chores! Not the least of which involved travelling, in various-sized family groupings, to sports and hobby pursuits, to church on Sunday morning, to parties (lots of kid’s birthday parties!), to walks, to pick-ups after sleep-overs at friends, and all the other myriad activities that ‘normal’ weekends demanded. Somehow, Dorothy was able to ensure we were well fed, clothed and clean! And often I was working long hours, sometimes even at weekends, and usually stressed at some level as I coped with the rigours of my work in employee relations and disputation at the workface of a large food company, an hour’s drive from home.
Well might we all ask, “Are we there yet?”, as each one of our family, and yours, move through our adult lives with all its attendant demands and isolations, especially now in these coronavirus times. The answer is easy. It’s love that keeps us going, because that what love is: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth”. Look it up, it’s in the bible: 1 Corinthians 13 1.