Don’t make me turn this car around…
Photo: Lily at the window in our Texas house, saying goodbye to the birds and flowers (and Wendi and Spirit across the street :))
There is always a moment– usually an hour or two into a driving trip– when I catch myself wondering if I’m too far in to turn back. It’s not that I’ve ever wanted to abandon the journey altogether; the truth is that I’ve never actually turned around. But knowing that there are so many miles ahead can be daunting and overwhelming and totally exhausting, and moving forward seems easier when I know that the choice is mine.
When my mom helped me move from Colorado to Florida two years ago, I fought the question until I reached that final state line. When we left Florida for Mississippi, I wondered right up until we hit the halfway point. And while Mississippi didn’t have much pull for me, I anticipated that driving away from Texas– the first place we connected with as a family of four–would be really hard.
Last week, on the fifth anniversary of my first date with Dmitri and the third anniversary of our engagement, we embarked– caravan style, with Charlotte in the back seat and Dmitri and Lily in the car ahead of us– on this next phase of our journey. I wasn’t at all surprised when the wondering started near Victoria and continued through Houston, and it didn’t bother me that that question– ever present, it seems–echoed right on into Louisiana:
What would our lives look like if we turned back now?
For 1,ooo miles, I drove and asked and drove and wondered, watching through Dmitri’s back window as he periodically reached back to hand Lily a toy, or her pacifier, or just to smooth her hair. And somewhere between Biloxi and the Welcome to Florida sign, those imaginings about the lives we might have lived were replaced by another, more poignant, image: my husband and my girl, leading our
ship Saab and Toyota into a brand new harbor city.
I do like knowing that I could, at any moment, turn the car around.
But for now, I think I’ll try a little harder to simply enjoy the drive.