A 5-hour road trip. Alone.
A rare luxury of time in the car without 2 voices shouting demands from the backseat. No packing of snacks, DVDs, or toys. My only thought was me–a bottle of water and my ipod, and I was taken care of.
I rolled down the windows and let all of my cares blow away. This weekend, I didn’t have plan for anybody else. The responsibilities of wife and mother were on hold for 48 hours.
Driving through a rural area, I passed a small farmhouse. A tractor was tilling the field next to the house and clouds of dust billowed up behind it. I imagined living there–saw myself in a faded sundress making lunch for my husband who had been working in the field. Would we would be a family who drank sweet tea out of old Mason jars, who rose early every morning to milk cows? Would I load my children onto a bus to attend a rural school? Would I have to plan my shopping every week for my one big trip into town? Would I be happier living a simpler life like that?
I drove on toward the coast and passed an old rundown motel. They were luring customers there with luxurious amenities like the promise of a remote controlled televisions. I thought of the people who stayed there, maybe some people lived there. What if I just moved to the beach? Started cleaning vacation houses and stayed in a place like that? I saw myself bronze and tanned, in a pair of cut-off shorts. No mortgage, no responsibilities, no possessions, no gadgets. Doing a simple job on my own time, and bumming around on the beach.
All weekend, I observed the people and places around me and tried on different identities. Could I be a mom that is that laid back? A different kind of wife? Could I live somewhere else?
My time away was short. When I went to bed on Saturday night, my plan was to spend some time on the beach Sunday before coming home. But I awoke Sunday morning to the pull. I spent an hour outside reading by myself and drinking my coffee, and then it was enough. It was time to succumb to the force field that I never expect, but always comes–the one that pulls me back home. The one that reminds me that no matter how much fun I am having elsewhere, there is no other place I’d rather be than with my family. In my home.
I hopped in the van and called my husband. “Hello, love,” he answered and I could hear the smile in his voice.
And I knew. I am exactly who I need to be in the exact place I need to be. And I am there with exactly who I’m supposed to be with. And I couldn’t get back to that perfect place fast enough.
I pressed the gas a little harder.
Can you thaw out some pork chops, babe? I’m on my way home.