For the first few days of our cross-country trip, I was on a roll. We drove, ate candy, argued about the iPad, and just when we thought we could not stand one more moment traveling together, we arrived somewhere magical.
After that, the kids fell asleep and I wrote about it.
Then I fell asleep and we started all over the next day.
It was a pretty great routine, but like most charmed journeys, this one was unsustainable.
Somewhere around day 5 ½, instead of writing at night, I ate half a bag of Cheetos and went to bed. While this is not a dietary practice I can recommend, succumbing to semi-slothful behavior after several weeks of packing boxes, lugging furniture, and saying goodbyes . . . well, that’s something to which I can give my full stamp of approval. To everything there is a season — a time to laugh, a time to cry, a time to pack, a time to move, a time to write cathartically about friendships and farewells, and a time to process all of that with junk food and sleep.
Thus, while I had hoped to amass two weeks of pithy truths and inspiring stories of my family triumphing in the face of roadside adversity, what follows, instead, are the briefest of highlights — some awesome, most ordinary — from the rest of our trip across America:
–We swam beneath a small waterfall. I fell into a muddy creek carrying our only towels. Ken and I argued about crossing other people’s rivers.
–Lizzie, Katie, and Henry rode horses. Ken and I did not.
–I grew tired of carrying Henry one morning, and accidentally set him down in a pile of red ants. The hundred or so crawling up and down his legs bit him/stung him (note to self: look up what it is ants do) at least a dozen times before I realized my mistake and swatted them off. Poor boy had legs like chicken pox. He could only be consoled with watermelon.
–When it comes to catching them, kids love fish. When it comes to eating them, not so much.
–There are good people living in San Antonio, Dallas, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. (There are good people living lots of other places, too. We just didn’t go there.) Without exception, even when we had to battle traffic, weather, or adjust our itinerary to make it work, visits with old friends were a delight. If you do nothing else today, look at a map, and scheme a trip to see a faraway friend. You won’t be disappointed.
–I am a mustard snob. I get a little judgy when restaurants only have yellow mustard and not stadium or Dijon.
–I had a grown-up, mostly civil, in-search-of-common-ground conversation with a gun owner and we parted, I believe, understanding one another better. I was reminded to seek out those with whom I disagree. How else will we change the world?
–Lizzie led a horse to water and it did, indeed, drink.
–When we waved goodbye to Texas, a scorpion scrambled beside our car and waved back.
–The closest I came to crashing in 3000+ miles of driving occurred an hour from our destination when the car in front of me slammed on his brakes because someone was weed-whacking fifty feet away. Prior to this, I had never considered gardeners a threat.
–We had Dairy Queen for dinner two days in a row. The food was not good. But I loved it both times.
–I have not been flossing.
For the many folks who have asked, we are safely in Ohio now. Staying with family and living out of suitcases while we search for a new home. Thanks for blanketing the road before us with warm thoughts. We are excited about this new chapter, and looking forward to the big things to come.
More on that next time . . .