On the Road (or, B is for Home)

Today I kicked off my first solo road trip (sans kids) since, well, since before Jonah was born. Yeah, that’s nearly six and half years. And yeah, that’s too long, especially for someone who physically needs a little seclusion from time to time. Make that regularly.

Enviably, G and his dad are on their own little adventure. Today they visited Amherst and Emily Dickinson. Okay, ED’s house, but still. She’s there–you know? G has been promised a city and a waterfall, which he will promptly tell you: “Gaba trip! See watafall! See see-tee!” Only after a few hours strapped in did it begin to dawn on G that getting to see a waterfall and a city meant spending a lot of time in the car far away from home.

“Gaba home!”

“I am home,” John told him, which seemed to satisfy him. Somewhat.

J and my mom flew off into the blue around sunrise. They’ve made it to the Land of Ahhh’s (sorry, I couldn’t resist referencing an old Kansas tourism motto) after a two-hour delay in Atlanta (damn computer system). J was reportedly a trooper. It surely didn’t hurt that he got a new toy (space shuttle) and a panda pillow. But it also had something to do with him being a good traveller and the connection he has with Grandma Debbe. I think he’s actually a little disappointed I’ll be joining him late tomorrow.

This morning he was all excited nerves and anticipation. I didn’t have to tell him more than once to get dressed (unheard of), and he was waiting for us both in the kitchen, dutifully downing a banana. When we stepped outside he became hilariously effusive about how “gorgeous” the stars were “at the top of the sky.”

But wait, this trip is supposed to be about me. Right. Well, I didn’t want to leave my house this morning. The quiet was pleasantly unsettling. I waded around it’s edges as long as I could. But people were expecting me, so reluctantly I set off. For the first hour in the car I was just flat out happy. Unadulterated. The road has that effect on me. I hit it early. By sixteen I was heading out solo to Western Kansas for my summer farming job. Only in the last few years have I become almost entirely homebound.

But it’s different of course. Because like John, I’m a piece of Gabriel’s home, and Jonah’s too. I’d like to add John, but we’re kind of a funny match, us two. Keenly independent and needful in our particular ways. That said, when any of them are away, part of me goes with them.

But did I say I’m really enjoying being alone, that I’m starting to plot ways to get more of this not only during my trip, but in the weeks and months to come? That I’m stretching every moment as far as it will hold, sinking into that remembrance of myself as a person first and a mother and wife as a natural extension of that person?

Which is why I’m still sitting in a Starbucks outside of Indianapolis, which of course is freezing, so I had to dig through my suitcase and pull out the hoodie I packed to survive the frigid air conditioning I will surely encounter in 105+ degree Kansas in August. I looked up for a moment at the Starbucks logo beckoning me back to see that a bird had built her home in the bottom half of the green plastic B. Another testament to home is where you are, and with whom.

Right now, that’s just me (and my splurge-copy of British Vogue). We’re getting reacquainted.

[An important detail I (almost intentionally) left out. The organization of this trip–who goes to Kansas in August?!–hinges on the fact of my 20th high school reunion this weekend. A subject for another post, no doubt.]

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