We don’t really know what we are capable of doing until there is no other choice before us. Well, even as I write that first sentence I realize there is always, ALWAYS a choice. But when the choice is between doing it ourselves or not getting to do it at all it is amazing what can happen.
Russell was the one who loved long drives. I like driving but don’t love it. I like road trips and loved the trips that we would all take down to Sarasota, FL every year. Mainly though I liked the driving part because I love napping in cars. It drops me back into childhood when we would drive to Wisconsin as a family. Those trips were times for reading, playing the alphabet game, and napping. Our family trips that Russell and I shared for decades were the same with lots of fun music added in – especially Jimmy Buffet and Bob Marley.
Last year when we drove to Florida for our beach vacation in July it was a shorter trip – only 12 hours compared to the 16 or 17 it takes to get to Sarasota. It was a trip broken up by Kateri and Soren both sharing in the driving duties and us making lots of stops to keep me awake enough to keep driving. When we traveled to Sarasota in December we flew down because the thought of making that very long drive made me want to curl up and hide under my covers, no matter how much the lure of the beach was calling to me. No way could I handle making a drive that is technically 16 hours but would surely take us 20 with all the stops I would need.
Not only have we made it to Orlando with me driving all but 2 of the hours, I actually really enjoyed the driving this time. We stopped in Atlanta last night which was a good break splitting the drive into a 9 hour day and a 7 hour day (stopping for lunch always adds time). I’m tired tonight but actually much, much less than I thought I would be. Instead I feel energized and excited for our adventures at Disney to start tomorrow.
My kids slept much of the way, as I always used to do. I would drive maybe 10% of our trips with Russell driving 90%. I never understood how he would say he actually liked the driving and wanted to do it. I never understood until this trip.
As the kids slept I listened to my favorite songs; started listening to a Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly which I am loving; let my mind wander through the opportunities currently before me for my life; allowed myself to be filled with gratitude for my children, my family and this trip; and smiled as memory after memory flooded through me of the dozens of trips Russell and I took on the very roads I drove mile after mile. My heart rode wave after wave of memory simultaneously missing Russell and smiling at the joy of remembering.
What I couldn’t fathom ever being able to do a year ago has been a joyful experience in this time, in these moments. The very thought of being strong enough to handle all that driving last year made me want to throw up. Instead by saying yes I will and can do this drive has left me with filled with gratitude, renewed confidence in my strength and lots of new ideas. I have at least 5 blogs posts that started writing themselves as I drove, this one being just the first. I had some good conversations with my kids and lots of fun, silly moments that I treasure deeply. And I feel that I am rocking my life right now.
Not too shabby for someone who believes car rides are really just moving nap time. 🙂