Parenting and Paradise

Family Road Trips to Mayto:   The how-to’s and if-to’s

There was a time when I really loved going away on weekend road trips in Mexico.  I adored the adventure and spontaneity of traveling to out-of -the-way, romantic new places.  But let’s be honest, road trips back then meant a backpack, a change of underwear, and a passport.  Now, road trips mean snacks, wet wipes, three kinds of mosquito spray, the entire contents of two underwear drawers, and stoicism left over from the pioneer days.
I have the feeling that any kind of travel with children can be challenging for everyone. Oh, you know people, I’m sure, that are constantly exclaiming what wonderful travelers their children are.  Not to worry. They are are either bald-faced liars or they really do enjoy playing the Highway Alphabet game.
Either way, these are not people you’ll want to associate with.
Allow me to tell you about our trip last weekend and you can decide for yourselves whether to take the leap and embark on some family road trips.
Our friends wanted to spend a weekend with us in a place called Mayto, a tiny little out-of -the-way pueblito located on a wide, beautiful, peaceful beach. There’s a little family-run hotel there called Hotelito El Rinconcito, owned by Fernando and Maricela (322-175-5277).
Given that my friend and I were both celebrating a certain landmark birthday (which will remain numberless) this month, I thought it would be great to have an adventure.  They started their weekend earlier than we did, but left us with colorful, slightly worrisome directions such as “In El Tuito, you will see a guy roasting corn at the corner of the plaza.”  Fervently hoping the corn-roaster had an iron bladder, we packed up our very small Dodge Atos with most of our worldly possessions and left in the late morning.
I do have some advice for parents who want their children to “gain valuable experiences” by taking road trips.  Allow them to gain these experiences with a few key pieces of technology on the side to bribe with once you tire of the fact that he keeps TOUCHING his sister’s LEG and he’s DOING it on PURPOSE.
I guarantee you three things:  One, that your air conditioning will cut out exactly at the halfway point to your beach destination.  Two, that you will at this very point wish, desperately, hopelessly, that you had kept your grand ideas of adventure to yourself.
The last thing I guarantee is that the first two things will not matter in the slightest when you and your family open the car doors at the hotel, two and a half hours later.
Your friends have already dealt you in to their Shanghai rummy marathon and all four hammocks are empty and waiting.  Your friends’ children have already run off with your kids who will play entirely unattached to any electronic device for the next 24 hours.
The sun will soon be setting over 12 miles of pure, smooth sand and the transparently green ocean. And it will be worth it.

By Leza Warkentin