Today started a new chapter in the life of my family as we set out on our first vacation as a family of four.
In planning it, I wanted to make sure it would be packed with fun and memorable activities so the kids wouldn’t feel the loss a divorce leaves behind.
And to assist in the bonding process – with the exception of our home cell phone (for emergencies) – we left behind personal cells, video gaming systems and portable DVD players.
Adrianna and Brandon were pretty indifferent to all of it, but Erik commented that the lack of video games during the drive would be “bogus”, and then moved on. Our 4 1/2 hour drive was either going to be miserable…or phenomenal.
As we hurriedly packed the car and got ready to roll out, my 9 year old comedian son Brandon stopped when he saw me and said something about how hot I looked and if he were a dog, I could be his doggie bone. I’m pretty sure he stole that line from somewhere and has been dying to use it…but I ate it up anyway and allowed him to dictate the first music c.d. we would listen to in the car.
The boys quickly settled into the backseat and took up conversation amongst themselves. Adrianna was very chatty and our conversations were all over the board – but never dull.
Occasionally a song came on that one or all of us especially liked and some car dancing and singing ensued. The highlight was whenBrandonasked for our signature car traveling song, “You know…? The one by Gravy..?”
(Spoken again as if I should know what he’s talking about) “The one we ALWAYS listen to…by Gravy!”
“Ohhh. Yeah, you mean ‘Paradiseby the Dashboard Light’ by MEATLOAF?!”
Laughter overtook the car.
About an hour outside ofSt. Louis, my mind tired and wandering and my kids listening to “their” music, I couldn’t help but think about my last visit to this town.
It was in the spring of last year. I was very heavy in my drinking and was with my married boyfriend.
He was here on business; I was along to escape the reality of my life. Here I could pretend my life wasn’t a mess – I wasn’t in the midst of a nasty divorce and this man that I was with could love me – something I myself couldn’t do.
Being familiar with downtownSt. Louis, I did the driving when we went out for a night of drinking. As we headed back to the hotel, both completely inebriated, I found we weren’t the only drunk drivers on the road when a car blew through their red light. Brakes from both vehicles squealed as our cars were on a course to t-bone.
I can still see the faces of the four people in the other car staring wide eyed as our vehicles came to a halt. You couldn’t put a paper between them, but they never touched.
As the chaos of my previous trip and my old life resurfaced in my mind, I felt myself becoming tense and unwanting to face this city.
Leaving the technology behind has already opened up doors to a deeper relationship with my children – so I would say that makes the drive phenomenal.
But it also forces me to get real with what was and what that means to me today.
I don’t know what the rest of this weekend will hold for my family and me, but I do know as I keep doing the next right thing – facing whatever needs to be faced – it will be good.
Today starts a new chapter in the life of my family, as we experience our first vacation as a family of four.