I don’t mean drive, I mean really drive. Before I had children, my goal was to see the whole of America from the windshield of a car. When I first got my license, I’d go to the grocery store at night and dream of getting on I-95 and just going; going deep into the belly of black unknown West and not stopping until the earth below my tires did.
I dreamed of running, of never looking back, of having nothing more in my head than wind and sunshine. I dreamed of going to the places people didn't go and taking pictures of the things people tried to forget. But once you have kids, you don’t get to run anymore. You don't get to find what's been forgotten. Or, more accurately, you stop wanting to.
But before I had kids, even though I never did anything before I had kids....I never had a career and never went to a tropical island and never had a honeymoon and hardly managed to ever have a boyfriend, I got to drive. And that I did. I drove for stupid reasons; because I wanted a cheesesteak real bad, because I thought I could salvage a “relationship” that so belongs in quotation marks, I can’t even tell you, because my friend asked me to drop her off at her dorm in the middle of Nowhere, Idaho, because I wanted to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing over the thump-thump-thump of The Offspring, because I’d never been to Graceland, because I had to go crabbing in the Chesapeake one last time.
That's everywhere I've been by car. View If By Sedan in a larger map
I quit jobs to drive. I ended relationships to drive. I broke entire cars to drive. I violated so many laws to drive, I...well, I plead the 5th.
And then I had three kids and quit mostly everything for that.
Well, I did attempt a Denver to Durango trip with the boys when they were 2 and 4, and let’s just say that the 5 1/2 hour drive turned into 9 hours, and I turned into a shrew. Shrew would be a very generous word.
Four years ago, I packed an 8 year old, a 6 year old and a one year old into my 1997 Subaru Wagon and we drove the 23 hours from Denver to Vancouver to visit baby daddy for Father’s Day. We are back together now partly because he’s hot but mostly because there was no way in hell I was ever getting back in that car again. I still have nightmares.
And then, a few weeks ago, Chevy invited me and mine to borrow a car and drive to Dallas to visit Great Wolf Lodge. We haven’t seen any of Texas beyond Taco Bell (do you know how hard it is to find a Taco Bell in Canada?) (Do you know how much we’re making up for that fact now?) so we took them up on their offer and went.
Dude. The Road. That sweet call. It’s back.
Maybe it’s back because cars have changed in the past thirteen years and your kids can pretty much forget you exist in the back of one now, or maybe it’s just back because, as these things go, I’m starting to remember who I was before I had kids. Maybe I'm ready to start running into my life, not from it, wherever it is that's going to take me. I think I'm starting to become less Their Mom and more My Own Person again.
This is equally as exciting as it is depressing as all shit.
The whole recap of the GM trip to Great Wolf Lodge is on my Blog De' Revue.