Skip to main content

Have kid, will travel

I was bitten by the travel bug early in life. And I love a good road trip much, much more than a trip by plane or train. Because my parents were both teachers, we spent most of every summer road-tripping around the country -- mostly camping because teachers don't get paid in the summer (at least they didn't 20 years ago), and camping is cheap.

We had a giant green "maxi van" when I was in grade school that my mom rigged up like a camper. (This pic isn't the actual van, but it looked a lot like this.) She built a double bed for her and my dad in the far back, fashioned a little cot for me that fit over the two front seats, and my brother sacked out in the middle bench. There was room enough behind the far-back seat to fit a cooler and a giant box of nonperishables, and the camp stove and tarps and gear fit in boxes under the seats. My mom was super-crafty and innovative. And we saw many of these United States from the inside of Sam van Green. (This was before my sister was born, mind you. When she came along we upgraded to an actual Winnebago that we borrowed from my grandparents.)

My husband also grew up in a car-traveling, country-roaming, KOA-camping family, and we have no problem packing up a car and hitting the highway. Even with a kid and all the peripheral kid stuff required. We haven't yet taken Sweet Boy camping, but it's on our list of to-dos for this summer.

I'm happy to say it's looking like Sweet Boy has inherited a little bit of the wanderlust. Or at least he has inherited the ability to withstand long amounts of time in a car, staring out the window at the trees passing by, counting the cow pastures, noticing the mountains on the horizon or the rivers we're crossing over. In his short life, he's already been back and forth to Maine twice, to Virginia three times, and we often haul up to New York and back in a day.

Sweet Boy and Mommy had a road trip adventure this weekend. We visited my very dear friend and her family in Charlottesville, Virginia -- a good 250 miles from here. Drove down on Friday afternoon, spent the whole day Saturday playing in the clear mountain air and the sparkling sunshine with our friends, then drove home Sunday. Of course the portable DVD player with headphones helps a lot, but Sweet Boy is really a good passenger: He sings along with the oldies station I found; he informs me of every truck that I pass; he helps me pick out the best snacks in the Sheetz markets we pit stop in.

Today something on the news mentioned Virginia, and his eyes lit up. "I went to Virginia, Mommy!" Yep, you have, my buddy. And I'm looking forward to all the other places we'll visit and the many thousand more miles we'll road-trip together.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Grace happens

Today Honey's roommate in room 364 at Maine Medical Center was discharged. Some other day I'll tell you about why Honey is in the hospital again, but this story is about the roommate because it's way more interesting. Let's call him Elton, because all I really know about him is he plays guitar in an Elton John tribute band and he's originally from the very northern part of England, bordering Scotland. (Or as Honey described it, "that place in England where the Roman Empire decided, nope, those Celts are crazy, and put up a wall.")

Elton was in room 364 before Honey arrived, and what struck me immediately, besides his delightful accent and soothing Liam-Neeson-esque voice, was his gentle, good-natured manner. He was going through heck from a botched surgery and compartment syndrome - pain and gore and fear of losing the use of his dominant hand - yet he spoke kindly and softly to every person who came into his room. Every time a nurse walked in, Elton gree…

Math lessons

I was really great at school as a kid...but I'm really lousy at school as a parent. And I was reminded once again of this while sitting at my son's conference yesterday.

Seventh grade has been hard on all of us. Beyond the obvious physical changes -- Happy has grown at least 5" since this summer and now looks me in the eye (yeah, remember I'm super tall!), his voice is weird, he can't get out of his own way -- we're all trying to navigate his ever-changing need for independence. His teachers want him to take more responsibility for his learning, which in theory sounds like a great plan for all kids at this age; they have to not only learn how to learn but also learn how to advocate for their learning.

In reality, though, when you're the world's most laid-back 12-almost-13-year-old who really only wants to listen to music, play drums, video games, and action figures, taking responsibility and advocating for your learning is not highest priority. In fact…

Happy curls?

I dreaded the passing of the peace each Sunday when I was a little girl. Every week the old church ladies would comment about my hair...
    "Shirley Temple curls!" they cooed; I didn't know who Shirley Temple was.
    "So soft!" they petted; I didn't want their wrinkly, gnarled fingers on my head.
    "I pay a lot of money to have hair like yours!" they exclaimed; I couldn't figure out why anyone would pay money for frizzy, fluffy, brillo-pad hair.

I hated my curls. I felt embarrassed by my hair -- it was short, kinky, cut badly -- quite different from the long straight hair my friends all wore at the time in my life when I just wanted to fit in. Oh, how I wanted a ponytail! Or a braid...to braid my hair on a Sunday morning with ribbons hanging down, that was a dream.

Today during the passing of the peace, I found myself next to one of the older ladies in our church. Every week I marvel at her elegance, the way the dresses, the slow and grace…