The Rural Pit Stop

North Carolina, USA
Updated: December 2022
Shortly after writing this blog, I began a weekly parenting column with the News and Observer. These are those stories. I love to look back on these posts because they are so real with exactly what we went through at that moment in that stage of life. I would one day like to chronicle some of the challenges I've faced in parenting during my kid's teen years, but that's going to have to wait a while. If you are a parent of a young one conducting a road trip during the holidays, have fun and remember to cherish these memories as hard as they may be in the moment. 

I'm sure many parents remember the first time it happened to them. They probably remember right where they were. So it was bound to happen to us sooner or later, right? 

Of course, it will happen when you're driving in the middle of nowhere. We weren't in the middle of nowhere, but we were in rural North Carolina on a highway by-pass between the city of Raleigh and Farmville.   Highway 264, to be exact.

It's the type of by-pass where you see an exit for Hardees, but when you take the exit, you don't see the restaurant. Could it be five miles down the road or ten miles? It was like this exit after exit.

Meanwhile, we hear from the backseat, "I can't stand it. I need to pee-pee quickly."

We ask, "Can you wait? We have about 15 more miles til we get to our destination?"

"I've got to pee pee right now. Quickly!"

I ask my husband, "Do you think he's just bored and wants to get out of the car?"  We were on an hour road trip.

We just need to figure it out. We see nothing. No signs ahead. Just an exit to a rural country road! We pull over on the shoulder of the exit ramp. 

We hear, "What are you doing?"   We tell our 5-year-old that he has no choice but to use the bathroom on the side of the road if he really has to go. As I unbuckle his seat belt, I'm confident he really does have to go.   He wasn't kidding.   We're going through with this unexpected pit stop.

As I walk with my son toward a grassy area,  I hear from the driver's seat, "Tell him to aim toward the woods!"  What? You've got to be kidding me! Why didn't you get out of the car?

Even though we were off the highway, we could still be seen. Of course, we knew passengers in their cars were probably giggling at us or looking down on us in shame, but at least no one honked their horns.   I have to admit I laughed, too.

Little boy peeing in the woods

When we were in the middle of potty training, I took a potty with us on the road. I'll soon be potty-training again, so I guess I"ll be more prepared next time. But you are talking about parents who didn't even have a portable DVD for their car. That is until last night! We lasted five years without one, but we decided that was five years and one minute TOO LONG.

Hopefully, on our next road trip, we'll be cruising in peace and see a fast-food restaurant every few exits.

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