Road Trip(s)

I’m wrapping up my second trip of the summer, trips that I was incapable of a year ago. The first trip was a week stay in nearby midsized city for son to attend fencing camp. This current trip was to Williamsburg, where son attended a computer programming camp at the College of W & M, and daughter and I got to be tourists.

Navigating– I used to be the navigator, husband used to drive, and I’d serve as relief driver for a few hours so he could rest. In midsized city, I learned how to navigate and drive by occasionally pulling over to a sidestreet when I missed a turn. I gradually ceded the Google Map to the kids. We had some growing pains–I snapped at son at a treacherous intersection, he expressed that he feels like he can never do anything right, I was chastened and admitted that I am pretty scared–and now we’ve all improved. 

Slowing down–Husband and I were keen on overnight drives–we’d trade off driving while the kids slept and plow through our road trips. That’s not possible now, and I get nervous about breaking down, getting in an accident in the middle of nowhere, etc. I broke up the trip on the way down and the way back with overnight stops at hotels. It cost extra money, but we became travelers instead of just gunnin’ it. On the way down, we caught a matinee of Romeo and Juliet at a Shakespeare company and stayed at an old stagecoach inn. That was novel. On the way back, we ended up at an “artist’s cottage” b&b in the same town. I’m writing this now from the backyard of the cottage. The birds woke me up at dawn.

We can do this, I guess. I was able to get the kids places where they could experience new things. We are all stronger and more capable that we were a year ago.

And yet I still feel empty. I feel like a servant to these children. It’s noble work, I know, but I’m not deriving much personal satisfaction from any of this. Except for this artist’s cottage, where I fantasize being a solo middle-aged woman in this tidy, light-filled space in a mountain town, I’ve gone through the motions. The tears came easily this week. I kept them in for the entire day at Colonial W’burg, then let them out in my room at night. Another night, in the midst of an entertaining scene in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (yes, two plays in one week) tears rolled down my face. I don’t even know what I was crying about.

I really have to get happier. This sad and lonely stuff just won’t do.

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3 thoughts on “Road Trip(s)

  1. Little by little your confidence while traveling will grow. At least I think and hope it will because I feel the same way about sole trips and I want to believe there is hope for both of us in this department. I worry about breakdowns, accidents and getting lost. I had to take a three hour drive to a 50th anniversary today and ended up laughing at myself when I realized I have three ways to summons help—On-Star, my cell and my Emergency Responder plus I have road service with my car insurance AND from the car company. Talk about over-kill. In a few weeks I have another long drive to make and I’m thinking I’ll be more relaxed.

    Your artist cottage sounds lovely. I want to work up the courage to rent a summer B&B on Lake Michigan for a long weekend. If not this summer I will by fall or spring 2014.

  2. You recent posts are so reflective of how I’ve been feeling, too. I wish I had the energy to take that job I applied for last year, just to “force” something “fresh” and new into my life. I feel impatient with my self, that I am still grieving, still angry, sad, still unhappy, that my attitude isn’t better. But it’s part of the process. We have to keep working through the tough stuff to make room for the new…but it can’t be forced. Thank you for your honest sharing.

  3. Thanks to both of you. This helps me to see that it’s nothing particular to me. There’s the wanting to heal, and there’s the slower process of letting that happen.

    The funny thing about the road trip is that it was uneventful. It was only an accomplishment insofar as I was so paralyzed with fear this time last year. Just getting out there and doing it, though, is pretty mundane. And all those gadgets do offer assurance that any problems can be dealt with. Heck, we’ve all seen worse, right? Maybe that’s part of my letdown–I took a big step, and it was just kind of quaint. We did see two Shakespeare plays in a week, and we found an excellent gelato shop and visited it on the way down and on the way back home. In the end, it’s the little things.

    Jean, I would meet up with you at Lake Michigan! I’ve long wanted to go there, but I always end up going east or south instead. I want to visit the Sleeping Bear sand dunes.

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