August 11, 2009
I awaken to the sound of my 9 year old son whispering to me, “Are you up?” Clearly I wasn’t, but for his sake I lift my head about an inch off of the pillow (which was all of the energy I could muster) and reply, “Why are you up?” He proceeds to tell me how long he’s been up and how well he slept, and all I think of is how poorly I had slept and how much I would LOVE to sleep for a few more hours. My husband (who wasn’t up either) sent him out of the room with strict instructions to remain quiet until the rest of the house was up.
(I won’t mention the mayhem that ensued once the 5 year old realized his new friend was awake too, but suffice it to say that “quiet” wasn’t on the boys’ agenda.)
Anyway, we eventually get ourselves together, have a guffaw-filled breakfast, and get ready to hit the road again. Once again, we cram bodies in among our stuff (thankfully we are now down some baby and big brother gifts) and we’re off to our next destination, our friends who live on Lake Michigan.
After the intense humidity of Ohio, we can’t wait to experience the cool breeze of the beach. But we’re still five hours away so we settle for the continued blasting of the air conditioner. Activities of this leg of the trip include more DS playing, more scouting of license plates, everyone's playing now!) a phone interview for my husband (during which the kids were silent on pain of being strapped to the top of the car), a few phone calls catching up with people…and then, we’re just starting to talk about when we’ll stop for lunch, and we see a huge bolt of lightning crackle out of the sky at what looks to be only about 100 yards away from us. Once again, torrents of rain come crashing down, the wind is blowing fiercely, and the lightning show is filled with the biggest and brightest streaks I’ve ever seen. Again, for several minutes we can’t see a thing, and we consider taking to the side of the road, but thankfully this one was slightly shorter than yesterday’s and it subsides to steady rain for the next ten minutes or so. Welcome to Indiana!
By the time we pull into a rest stop for lunch, the sun is shining and the air is so humid it’s like walking through soup. My daughter points out a fabulous bumper sticker that says, “Bahstin Bumpah Stickah – it’s fer the cah.” We are all standing there laughing and the owner comes up and we share a moment of being recently displaced Bostonians – she was on her way to moving to California, and we were on our way to moving to Colorado. It was a very cool moment, and reminded us that indeed, there are Red Sox fans everywhere!
Lunch is consumed, potty breaks are taken, car is fueled, and we’re off once again. My turn to drive.
Those of you that know me also know my attitude about driving. Those of you that don’t know me just need to know that, well, driving isn’t my favorite thing to do. Never has been (and don’t even get me started on parallel parking!). But I know that it’s the right and fair thing to do, and that my husband needs and deserves a break so I’m up to the task.
I will spare you all the gory details, but suffice to say that within 20 minutes of me driving, the strong wind blowing combined with the close proximity of many a semi, we all had adrenaline pumping wildly into our systems and it was a good 10 minutes before our heartbeats returned to normal.
Aaaaanyway, we’re all fine, we’re going along, hubby is reading out loud to the kids, we see lots and lots of cornfields, we cross over into Michigan, and at long last (and thankfully in one piece) we end up at the house of my husband’s best friend from high school, his wife, and their 5 and 3 year old boys.
General jocularity is had by all, and after dinner we walk the few yards it takes to get to their private beach on Lake Michigan.
The sun is setting in a pink and orange sky over blue waves that are pounding along the sand. My kids immediately jump into the water, and I follow, amazed that the water is actually warm. As we watch the sun descend we search for sea glass, run along the water’s edge, and then my son decides that the water is so nice that he must go for a swim. He dives in, fully clothed, and the two other boys immediately follow suit. Everyone is smiling and laughing and having an absolutely spectacular time, and it’s one of those times when you feel like the world stops for a moment, and everything is just as it should be and you’re so happy and grateful to be alive. What a perfect way to continue our journey of fun and discovery.
P.S. License plate total: 34 (not including the three bonus ones we saw from 3 different Canadian provinces)
Deep thought for the day:
(I’m very tired so I hope this comes out somewhat intelligibly.)
It’s very cool to see people who have chosen to live their lives in a certain way. City people who choose to go and live by a beach. Small town people who seek out the dynamism of a big city. People who have the courage to break away from their assumptions about other people and places and embrace the world with open arms.
We all know people who were born in one place, live there their whole lives, and never really get beyond the limits of their town and the ideas and ideals that are expressed and valued there. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I often wonder about what these people are missing. It’s a huge world out there – even our own country is enormous, and it seems like if we take the time to go walking in someone else’s shoes, even for a little while, we can be more sympathetic to their issues and realize that there’s not only one way of living life that’s “right.” I also think that the more sheltered and closed off people become, the smaller their world becomes. And when your world is small, your own (often miniscule) problems become magnified and we lose sight of the bigger picture. We become less accepting of people who are unlike “us,” and fail to recognize the beauty in diversity.