The battle cry of ROAD TRIP! used to mean something totally different to me. I would stock up on Marlboro Lights and Diet Cokes. I might organize my tape case on the front seat of my Geo Metro convertible. If I was trying not to feel totally reckless I’d apply sunscreen to the part between my pigtails and I’d hit the road. I always arrived at my destination earlier than I thought I would because I could drive for hours and hours without stopping to pee and I held steady at ten to fifteen miles over the speed limit.
Things are different now. Lucy and I hit the road early in the morning. It was almost two weeks ago and I have only just now recovered enough to write about it. To say that we made frequent pit stops would be an understatement. She was hungry. She needed a new diaper. But mostly? She just needed her mama. And I cave like a wet paper bag.
I picked up Emily and it was smoother sailing from then on out. Lucy loves her mama. But her big sister is supremely entertaining. We laughed. We sang. While sitting in traffic I thought I might pee in my pants. Emily informed me that if she had a magic wand she would turn all my pee to blood. Not eliminate the traffic, mind you. We made it to DC. We regrouped. Lucy, my mom and me in one car. Em and my step-father in the other. We took off for the beach.
A hundred years ago my mom and I went on road trips. Sometimes they would be small adventures. Denny’s for breakfast in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. She would come down to Williamsburg to visit me in my twenties. We would tear up the town. In the summer we would usually steal away for a night or two at the beach. As we hopped in the car to head to the beach I was reminded of those long ago beach trips. In spite of the car seats, the pool floaties, the sleeping kids in the back seat, the sun shades and the SPF 3 Million in my car for a moment it was like I was sixteen and we were headed out just “us girls.”
Twice in the car she laughed until she spit her water. Her Perrier. My mom likes “bubbly water” without it seeming like a “thing.” I have some on my dashboard right now and I might not wipe it off. Not because I am a slob (which I am, in my car only) but because every time I see the splash marks on my window and my dash it makes me laugh.
Rarely is your Vacation complete before you arrive at your destination. But it had been too damn long since I had made my mom laugh until she spit her drink. Too damn long.