Tuesday, July 6, 2010

zen and the art of driving to grandma's

It started out as a quiet morning of focused puzzle do-ing...
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And letter 'H' drawing...

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Not surprisingly, this peaceful self-occupation did not last through the packing process...So I packed for a typical Montana summer week at the lake; sun hats, snow hats, bathing suits, rain coats, fleece vests, life jackets...and lots of snacks...all while singing Baby Beluga and dancing like a mad-woman to keep their attention on me instead of on unpacking our bags while I'm not looking.

We hit the road by naptime - it's just shy of 200 miles from our front door to grandma's, so I guessed about three hours, which would make for a long nap, but I was feeling optimistic....

After driving 40 miles, we'd already stopped twice. Both girls decided they were starving the minute we hit the road, so I served up snacks like a good stewardess while piloting the car at about 75 mph...not for the faint of heart...
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Then Amelia decided to share her string cheese with Aven, which is very sweet, except that I kept picturing Aven's giant front teeth neatly chomping off a perfect throat-plug sized piece of cheese, then quietly choking in the backseat while all I can see is the back of her rear-facing carseat. Stop number one - wipe slimy chewed-up cheese off of Aven while parked on the off-ramp and swap her a teething biscuit and her sippy cup of water.
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15 miles later Aven is screaming her head off and Amelia has to "really really pee, mama." Stop number 2: a very windy rest stop with awesome rocks for Amelia to climb on while I change Aven out of soaking wet-clothes (apparently the sippy cup sprung a leak), and nurse the poor cold babe, and let Seeley run around and pee on bushes. Quick stop in the bathroom where the extremely heavy door nailed Amelia in the head, and we're off once again....
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Look at my face - weary, weary mama!

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But they both crashed and slept the rest of the way (whew)!
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Then it became this beautiful, relaxing drive through places that contain all these old memories for me. This stretch of road was the first highway I ever drove on; when I was 14 with my learner's permit and my step-dad pulled over and told me to get behind the wheel.

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I had all these wonderful full-circle feelings driving my own daughters toward the lake, remembering making this same trek as a child; the fullness of summer, the green fields and blue rivers that make me feel like this is home.

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Then the first glimpse of the mountain lake that I first swam across 20 years ago, that I learned to sail and canoe on, sweet with the smell of pine pollen and cool, silty glacial sediment- even the air feels green with run-off, snowmelt, the essence of the history of the earth. I feel it all floating on my back in these waters that have held me as a child, that held me while I carried my daughters in my body.

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Down the tunnel of red-dirt road and lodegepole pine...

and we are there.

1 comment:

aftml said...

oh, i can *so* identify with the weary.mama.in.the.rearview.mirror.look - fer awhile there i was driving 8hrs+ with my 2yo *monthly* to do the kid swap thang.

gorgeous pics. glad you made it uneventfully.

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