I am back in NH in a heat wave. After the beautiful weather in Durango, the humidity and heat are making sleeping difficult; especially when my two cats are so grateful to have me home that they snuggle their furry little bodies up as close as they can to mine all night.
The trip was a huge success. It accomplished all of the things that I hoped it would:
I had a wonderful bonding experience over the long six days of travel with my son. We seem to travel well together. We like the same kinds of food and are happy camping rather than staying indoors. The one night that thunderstorms forced us (ok, I’ll be honest here – he would have slept outside, I wanted a roof over my head in the rain) was the least pleasant night that we had. It felt like making the decision to stay inside put a curse on all of the events of the evening. The meal we had was terrible. So we tried Mexican food in Ohio – were we all that wrong? Everyone in the restaurant was speaking Spanish.
Seeing the college gave me a picture that I can refer to when I want to imagine him away at school. I can remember the mountains that provide the backdrop for the scene and the sound of the clock tower chiming. I can picture him running the river that runs through the town and driving the windy roads up to the ski area.
While I was there, I tried to keep my distance and let him explore his new life without his Mom looking over his shoulder. Even this was a good experience for me. I saw him making new friends and I experienced his care for me as he got up every morning so that we could have breakfast together. Anyone with teens and young adults knows that sleep is a precious commodity and to sacrifice it for your Mom is truly special.
Even the leave taking was an important lesson for me. I had thought about all the things that I wanted to say to him before I left; advice, warnings, all the things I wanted to “make sure” that he remembered – in the end, I abandoned all of those and gave him my vote of confidence that he will make the right choices and have a great year. After all, he is at eighteen, an adult. After all, he is a wonderful, caring, intelligent human being. After all, I am proud to be his mother.
Our living room is covered with clothing, camping equipment and the necessities of dorm life – a coffee cup, desk lamp, sheets and a few precious mementos. Books are waiting to be packed. There is chaos elsewhere.
My son is getting ready for the big move. This is the one that often leads to visiting home rather than coming home. This is where the word itself, “home”, starts to be confusing. Is it “where I grew up”, or “where I spend the most time” or “where I feel most comfortable”? Is home the family I was given with my birth or the family that I create?
His room looks like he is leaving for a movie with friends. The garage holds three bikes laying mostly in parts, waiting for him to pick up his wrenches. There are granola bars still in the cupboard – the high calorie kind you need when you work on a farm and run rivers in tiny kayaks.
While he anticipates with excitement the trip and its destination, college; I stand between two incredibly powerful sets of feelings – pride, excitement, and delight and the sadness that comes with knowledge that our home is changing yet again.
I can’t wait to get on the road and see the country with him. I can’t wait to see the school and meet the people who will surround him while he is there. When I stand next to him, I can feel the anticipation that he feels and it is contagious!
I am a little afraid of coming home. There too, is a bifurcation of feeling. I will miss him sorely. The house will be a lot quieter when he is gone. He is good company. At the same time, I have a strong feeling of anticipation of what this change will mean for me – my house as studio, and life as an independent woman. I will be on my own, much like my son, for the first time in many decades.
Sad? Yes. Exciting? Also yes. All there is to do now is to pack up the car and take the ride.
Since I just got back from vacation it seems very decadent to be thinking about the next one but since it’s only a few days away – here goes!
My son and I are taking a cross country road trip to get him to Durango, Colorado in time for him to begin classes as a Freshman at Fort Lewis College. I’ve driven across country a total of six times so far in my life and each time was exciting in different ways. Each time was also an education on how large and incredibly diverse our country is. I love moving from East to West; watching the terrain change as we speed by.
This trip is planned to try to see some of that diversity in the small amount of time that we have. We have allotted six days to get from NH to CO. In that time, we hope to camp exclusively at state parks to get a flavor of the area. It’s too easy to stay on the interstates and see the country as one big Wal-Mart.
Here are my thoughts (in no particular order, so just as they come to me):
- Wheeee!!!!!! ROAD TRIP!!!!!!
- Camping – yikes – 5 days of sleeping on the ground – it’s been a long time.
- Music – Hmmmm – I’ve been watching him load up his ipod – I’m hoping he’s kind.
- Packing – Let’s see – One kayak, three pairs of skis, 2 backpacks, camping equipment, college room stuff, a year’s worth of clothing – can you say “the Clampetts”?
- Colorado again – It’s been a little over a year since I was last in Durango and I am really looking forward to spending a few days there.
- Art stuff – I’m sure I can fit the small bag that holds my art journaling stuff – Who needs that extra sweater?
- Kansas – Did I really make a plan that requires a stay in the center of the Squatter State?
Wheeee!!!!! ROAD TRIP!!!!!!