I splurged today. I usually ignore the inevitable whining that starts in the checkout line of the local super store as my four year old begs for a dye and sugar filled frozen drink. Today, I agreed to a snack (though not a colorful, frozen one), mostly because there is a coffee establishment there as well and I had heard of a tasty concoction called a salted caramel hot chocolate that I had been wanting to try. If I let him get a snack, I could get one too. I don’t frequent this coffee place for the obvious cost and calorie reasons, but it felt like the kind of cold, gray, rainy chaotic day that warranted something special. So, I paid mad cash for my treat and headed over to the snack counter for two juice boxes and a pretzel for my son and daughter to share. A more organized mom would have brought juice boxes or water bottles along from home instead of paying for the luxury of convenience. An organized mom, I am not. We walked to the car in the rain, snacks in hand. I strapped the kids into two of the car seats in the minivan and got them set up with pretzel and juice. I leaned against the third car seat, vacant since my oldest son was at school. I sipped my hot chocolate and listened to the rain tapping the roof. I noticed the calm. Both children content for a rare moment of quiet. I love eating in the car. After many snacks and meals on the go, my son has coined the phrase “car picnics.” Our car picnics sometimes consist of cheese, crackers and fruit, packed lunches or a fast food meal. Whatever the food, I find that the occasion is something special. Maybe it is because we are all huddled close together as we eat, safe from the elements, which are visible and audible outside the car. Or maybe it is the fact that we are not distracted by all the things we would be at home. No TV, no laundry, no dishes to clean up afterward. Or maybe it is the fact that it reminds me of travel and that ever since our drive to the Florida Keys last year, I fantasize regularly about loading the family into the car and seeing the world. I have been reading a book about a family who did just that and the idea appeals to me. The thought of leaving all the details of life behind and just driving, experiencing, living and eating together every day with no distractions or time limits enters my mind often. There is something about the closeness of being in the car together that makes sense to me. Of course if my husband quit his job so we could give up our worldly goods and travel the world penniless, I wouldn’t be buying expensive hot chocolate to sip on a rainy day. Though somehow, I don’t think I’d miss it.