I hate packing. I mean, I really despise it.
It started when my children were small. I would be packing for them as well as myself – and I also did all the other tasks related to traveling: I bought the plane tickets, boarded the dog, arranged the car service, stopped the mail and the newspaper, sent in the “vacation watch” form to the local police, cleaned out the fridge so we wouldn’t come home to something hideous …
… And my husband, without fail, as he stuck piles of clothes – that I had laundered and folded – into his suitcase, would say, “OK, I’m done packing. Why aren’t you?”
He thought he was being funny. He didn’t realize how close he was to getting smacked.
Besides the desire to smack someone, packing brings out all my worst perfectionist tendencies. It seems like it has to be done exactly right. And when my children were small, it kind of had to be. You needed to have distractions, new things they hadn’t seen before, packed in the diaper bag, along with, of course, diapers and changes of clothes and snacks and, I learned this one the hard way as a very new parent, baby pain-killer in case an ear infection flared while you were in the air. My father-in-law once, during a long car trip, saw me pull so many things out of that diaper bag that he compared it to Mary Poppin’s magic carpetbag.
It’s getting easier. My kids are teens now and pack for themselves. Now, I just have a little look-see and -- I can't help myself -- ask things like “Did you bring underwear?” and “How about your retainer?”
Still, the kids know to steer clear of me when I’m packing, even if my husband doesn’t.