Driving: Swoon 51
I miss driving. Give me a traffic jam over public transportation any day. Driving across the country, no problem. Straight to Florida from Queens NY, bring it on. I love the little cocoon of goodness…family, music, games, coffee, treats, the adventure ahead. Just us. One of my mom’s favorite childhood memories was taking “the Sunday drive”…Yonkers to the airport “up north” in Armonk, watching the planes take off and land while eating a “double scoop”. Driving, man, I miss it.
I was around 8 when we did our first straight through to Florida, we all piled in the car, my little brother and I in the “way back” with the luggage, my older sister in the middle, parents up front. Mom embroidering rainbows on the handbag she made from a pair of jeans (it was the 70s). Some treats, a thermos, and cigarettes for 24 hours of smoking…windows rolled up…did I mention this was the 70s? No Walkman or iThings…the windows, radio, and playing the ABC game were our entertainment. My memories: 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover on the radio, waving out the back window at the people driving behind us, and picking Jujubes as my treat…wishing I had picked Milk Duds because Jujubes tasted like soap and Milk Duds were all kinds of creamy perfection. I do not remember my parents leaving me at a rest stop in Georgia, luckily my mom saw me running to them in her side mirror. Like I keep saying, it was the 70s.
In 1989 we had discount airline tickets to Key West, the morning of the flight the airline went bankrupt. Not willing to miss a vacation…we piled games, skateboards, extra clothing (no longer needing to fit in a carry on bag), and for some unknown reason the Betamax (!)…into the car and headed South. Now 14, 19, and 24, none of us sat in the way back, and there was much less smoking (thanks to my sister). We “kids” each had our own Walkman, and piles of cassette mix tapes littered the seat wells. I drove the state of Georgia, dark rainy night, David Bowie at full blast, transporting my sleeping family, feeling mature…a much better Georgia experience than I had in 1976. Swoon.
Greg and I have driven down to Florida with our kids more times than I can count. Never stopping to sleep (why waste time), leaving at 10pm and arriving for dinner at my parents by 7pm the next day. Magic. Kids sleep and we drive, together in our pod, what could be better? One year our planned Universal trip with the cousins was upended by Greg getting an amazing new job. We decided the kids and I would drive with one overnight stop and he would fly down to meet us. It would all work out. We started driving at 4 am…listening to Broadway musicals, singing, stopping only for snacks, gas for the car, and Red Bull for Kat…we pulled up to Universal Studios,Florida 18 hours later…cheering. One of my best mommy moments EVER, we would not miss a day with the cousins. I will never forget the look on my brother’s face as we walked into that hotel lobby. Always one of my biggest cheerleaders, and one of the people who takes up a huge part of my heart, his eyes sparkled as he said I knew you would drive straight through. It is comforting to have people in your life who know your hidden super powers.
The delayed “maternity leave” trip across the country with my Jacob will wait for a different (or many different) swoons. I am pretty confident that with out our many drives to Florida we never would have even considered that epic adventure. Each little trip gives confidence for the next bigger one. In these days of being afraid to travel in flying petri dishes of virus goo…maybe being lovers of the drive is a good thing. Sigh.
Cars are where my family is at their best. Where my relationship with my husband is beyond lovely. Where we can just be. Together. Cozy. Safe… until we hit that buck, but that is a different swoon too.