Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Travel Notes

40 min trail run 
4 min Tabata plank
45 push ups
3 x 15 weighted step ups
3 x 15 weighted lunges

4 weeks on the road with two kids. So far... 

Routine vs. spontaneity and adventure. Look at the Redwoods or listen to the iPod? Let it go or push it? My way or the highway.

They told Dad about the motel room and the survival show we watched. How long is the hike going to be?Does this campground have a playground? (Never you mind that it exists on the loveliest  stretch of coastline in existence.) Are you done? Can we go back now? Do we have to get out of the van ? STOP IT! Leave me alone! I do not like you.

Then the newts or the crawfish or the salamanders in the stream to catch. The call of "Happy cows!" at the sight of cows grazing a gorgeous green field (they ARE looking out the window). A chorus of improvised "George Washington Bridge" sung over EVERY bridge in the Pacific Northwest in triple-harmony. Crawling through the inside of a tree. Noticing the sounds of birds in the morning. The smiley hello as I first open my eyes, in the morning, in the tent. Morning snuggle time. Croaking frogs. Discovering bats flying above before bed. Her hand reaching for mine on the trail. Squeezing rocks and pebbles and stones - inside joke. Her voice loud and strong in the front seat asking about swear words, speaking them and commenting, "SHIT? What's  the big deal ?"

4 weeks on the road, mostly in a tent with two kids and it comes to a head in the Wendy's parking lot. Grumpy, moody big sister again angrily dismisses injured,  yet slightly deserving little sister and stoic, patient,  completely laid back mother loses her SHIT (shit means poop Sadie and here I am using it for emphasis). 

Silence ensues and I order an iced Americano for the road. Luckily there was an espresso stand across the street or I would have had to slam a burger and a Frosty.

A favorite podcast fills the auditory void. Getting closer to camp. Maybe Dad can help. We all have turns talking in the rest area. I love yous, sniffles and near silent whispers. Helpful? Questionable.

Almost back to tent. Elk in the field. Maybe 30-40. We stop and watch with wonder and reluctance. Pretty quiet, pretty grumpy. Internally, I am working my best "look on the bright side of things."

Van pulls into our site. Headphones on. Guess it was my call to torture us all with suffocating bad juju when I said "no electronics until you can tell me you understand" back in the parking lot, neck deep in my best motherly shit show.

Maren in the van. Sadie in the tent. Me in the chair with an IPA and The Sun. 

(From the van)
" I miss dad and home and the dogs and my friends.
What can I do for you?
"I don't know. I AM HOMESICK. I wanna keep driving and doing fun things. But I miss Dad."

Me too. 
I've been dreaming of David and bumping into him and reuniting and just these romantic,  kind of -I've finally found you- scenes. 

I tell Maren about tentative plans for tomorrow and the next day. I throw in a motel with an indoor pool to maybe cheer her up. But we're gonna camp two more nights, I warn. 

"Mom, I like your new earrings."
She throws me a line.
I guess she is still looking out the window, noticing.

With Sadie asleep in the tent and the lantern off, there is space in darkness to tell me what she understands. Except the conversation takes a left turn that I wasn't expecting. I want her to tell me that she understands how her attitude and mood affect others. I want her to expound upon how important the relationship between her and her sister is to her sister and aim to treat her more kindly more often. I want her to tell me she is having fun and she wants to be on the road for another 2.5 weeks. But these are my worries, not hers.

Her words jump back into sixth grade and far ahead into a new school. She questions herself - want she did and didn't do, what she may not be able to do at the next school. She knows who she is and she has doubts about how this will serve her in the future. She understands that she is scared and she is anticipating all that can go wrong. She shares things that went really wrong, weeks and months ago. I thought we were headed right and she went in a very different direction.

So I try that stoic, patient laid back mother thing for real this time and I listen. I don't say a word and she keeps talking. I asked her to explain her behavior and she is doing a bang up job, no end in sight.

I can't tell if she ran out things to say or if she ran out of breath, but she pauses. So, I reach for hand in the dark. 

"Those are a lot of things to be thinking about.  I'm glad you told me." That's all I've got, but it seems to fit.

3 more weeks on the road with two kids in a tent. It's fluid, not this or that. The moments all together in the beauty of the same place will come ad go. The grumpies and distance and discomfort will come and go too. Not my way but whatever the highway has in store.

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