From Chicken Soup for the Girlfriend's Soul

Half the Fun Is Getting There

A friend is a gift you give yourself.

Robert Louis Stevenson

It never crossed our minds that we were doing something outrageous. Although it was summer vacation, both our husbands had to work. Yet Annette, pregnant and showing, and I, with my hurt knee, decided to take our kids and get away. With five children under the age of seven, we knew our trip would not be lacking adventure.

We packed the van carefully. With sleeping bags, five squirt guns, junk food and the latest chick flick, we headed toward the mountains. Even with “Veggie Tales” playing in the background, it wasn’t long until our crew became restless.

“He’s touching me!”

“He has to touch you; we’re packed in here like sardines.”

“How long until we get there?”

“Hey,” Annette said in her teacher voice, “half the fun is getting there!”

A couple of hours later, we rounded the mountain and soon stood on the doorsteps of Oakhaven, my parents’ mountain home.

“Who’s got the key?” one of the kids hollered.

The key! Oh no! In the midst of packing the van, I had set the key down on my kitchen counter. I had forgotten the key. Immediately I said a quick prayer. Then grabbing Annette’s arm, I whispered in her ear, “Remember you said half the fun is getting there? Well, we’re not inside yet, and the key is at home on my kitchen counter!”

Quickly turning our situation into a game, Annette, the kids and I began rattling all doors and checking all windows for a way inside.

“Look here!” Annette shouted. “The kitchen window above the sink doesn’t have a safety lock. Janet, if you hoist me up, I can open the window and crawl through.”

“You can what? You’re pregnant!”

“Well, you can’t do it. You’ve got a bad knee.”

Before I knew it, all five kids stood cheering, watching Annette crawling through the window while I braced her. As Annette’s feet disappeared from sight, one of her kids shouted, “Mom, remember that half the fun is getting there!”

We had a great time during our vacation at Oakhaven. The kids laughed, played, hiked and even learned to whistle through an acorn. Annette and I found the time to talk like schoolgirls, and late one night when the kids were tucked in bed, we curled up and watched our chick flick.

Looking back to the days when Annette and I so daringly headed for the mountains with our little brood, we both smile. For now we know for certain that half the fun of motherhood is sharing it with a friend.

Janet Lynn Mitchell

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