If Forrest Gump thinks life is like a box of chocolates … you never know you’re gonna get. Than I would suggest parenting is like a road trip… you never know where you are going to end up. Despite all the planning and packing and fun car games, you never know when you will hit a detour or get a flat. I remember one trip when one of our littles had a complete blowout. Had to be washed in the bathroom sink at a gas station while Daddy tried to make the car seat bearable. In the moment it felt awful, now just a fond memory of a stinky stop.
We’ve never had a National Lampoon’s vacation, or one like Weekend at Bernie’s. But we’ve had our times. We’ve had u turns and haunted hotels and flooded roadways… but we’ve always made it through. And we did it together, trying to make the best of it.
One baby would cry their eyes out whenever we drove. Some brilliant sibling came up with a song that sounded like a Gregorian Monk chant, all monotone and all. But it worked. They would stop crying half way in and the entire car would sing, and sing, and sing.
There are moments in parenting that hit you blindsided, like a T Bone accident at the corner of walk and don’t walk. And in those situations you have to think fast on your feet and hope your heart leads the way with the intelligence of your brain. Sometimes it thankfully works, other times it just careens off course like a Fiat taking a wrong turn on a twisted mountain road. My heart can speak very loudly. Sometimes it comes off like a guilt trip. I hate those moments. The emotions are tumbling out like hot fire and there’s no keeping it in. All I can hope is that the aftermath cleanup isn’t irreparable.
It would be nice if kids came with a map or a gps or a star guide… something, anything. All we’ve ever wanted is for our children to be happy, healthy, safe, and secure. But I thought we were taking a trip to Cape Cod and along the way while enjoying the scenery, completely missed the turn and ended up in Texas. Still a great location, just not where we thought we were headed and had planned for. So, we learn to adjust and make changes. Some faster than others. But all along the way we hold our little ones close. Even if they all aren’t so little anymore.
We try to plan fantastic lives and experiences. But at the end of the day, we can’t stand in their way. We taught them the paths, we helped them learn the tools. We can only hope they will send us a post card and maybe swing by every now and then. Growing for happiness and success often means growing their own way. It’s very hard to watch and say go fly my love I pray we taught you well. And know you can always come home. We are like the old motel ad, “we’ll leave a light on for you” always. And a bed made. And with enough notice, your favorite meal. Knowing they are content will help to keep the sanity, while the heart breaks with the separation.
So as two of ours get ready to finish chapters in their lives, I can only hope they feel the love we have for them. The admiration we feel. And the joy of the ride along the way. I’d rather be lost in the woods with you than laying on a beach alone my loves. Please don’t forget to road-trip home sometimes. The anticipation of their visits helps to keep my sanity.
Oh, and don’t forget to wear sunscreen 💜