As always, I ate breakfast and brought back breakfast for Naughty Bear. We planned on hitting the road at 9 am, but we were both physically and emotionally exhausted. I ended up letting him sleep until he woke up on his own, especially since he was taking the first driving shift. My night time medication makes me extremely foggy-brained and it takes several hours to wear off, and neither of us was comfortable with me driving until that was cleared away.
After breakfast I returned to my bed with my laptop, having trouble getting into motion. In truth, I suppose we were both struggling with leaving, for similar reasons. I’m very saddened by how little real time LT and I spent together and just did not want to leave yet. Any time is a gift, but nearly everything was based around NB’s move and I really wanted some one-on-one time with LT. Sadly, it just wasn’t possible. I’m consoling myself with the fun and laughter that we had and that he’ll be home in four months. This trip was an unexpected treat and I know I shouldn’t be greedy. Still, I couldn’t help but join in on Naughty Bear’s jokey planning of kidnapping LT to take him with us to Virginia.
I think Naughty Bear was really torn because he loves his siblings and family so much, but knows he needs to return to Virginia to focus on his college education and start making a future for himself that won’t happen there. It’s very tough, but having lived very broke for five months with a less than ideal roomie was a HUGE reality check for him, and I’m grateful that he’s smart enough to learn from it. He’s also extremely appreciative of all the help given to him by his dad and M (step-mom), and especially his grandfather. He’s had a couple of years worth of life experience crammed into this five months, with more to come as he handles some remaining issues.
We took our time loading up the SUV Tetris-style, making everything fit securely and ensuring that we had a clear line of sight out the rear-view window. We were able to fit all his clothes in the soft car top carrier and carefully packed his electronics inside. We finally hit the road, rested and ready at noon.
We chatted and listened to music for the first few hours, singing along with shared favorites. Lord, I’ve missed hearing my baby sing! And I’m always so very grateful whenever I get the special time with my sons where they open up and share little nuggets of their deep-down selves with me. I’m utterly fascinated with the man he is becoming, and the maturity that he demonstrates. He easily acknowledges the mistakes he’s made over the years, and I hope he’s wise enough to know that this costly adventure was no mistake.
As I see it, time with loved ones is precious, and should never be regretted. The time he spent was needed, especially with LT as he got to know him as a maturing young man and they seem to marvel at how much they have in common. It somewhat amuses me, because it’s as if this never occurred to them before, and they’ve almost always lived together. This is spectacularly fascinating to me and I’m so grateful that they’ve really gotten to know each other as they grow older and their lives will likely send them off in different directions.
I drove a long time since I was feeling pretty good (medicating a headache with Ibuprofen) and didn’t know how I would feel later. He eventually closed his eyes to nap for his next shift, and I got caught up on Jared Axelrod’s “Fables of the Flying City” podcast novel, all the way to the most recent Episode 28. I could call him a cliff-hangering bastard, but he’s too much of a gentleman to leave us totally on the hook. Because it was more partial than full-on, I’ll call him a cliff-hangering scoundrel. I can’t wait to see what Ash and Gatling bring us next.
After that, I continued catching up on “Plus One“ which is a podcast by Kevin Smith and his wife Jen. I didn’t feel clear-headed enough to start another podcast novel, so went with something light and funny instead.
We stopped for gas a few times, stopped for food a couple times and just drove and drove and drove. I introduced him to “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old” because I know he enjoyed the movies and Kevin Smith’s televised Q&A’s. I also snuck a “This American Life” episode in as part of my continuing quest to hook him on podcasts. The only one he listens to currently is “The Nerdist” and I think even that is sporadically. Baby steps, y’all. Baby steps.
It’s now almost midnight, and we’re still driving. We are between Nashville and Knoxville, our anticipated stopping point for the night. We are seemingly driving through the mountains, and I’m pissed that I cannot see a damned thing. Driving through mountains is very similar to standing with my toes in the ocean. I get a sense of calmness and peace at the reality check of how very small I am in this very big world. I exhale and inhale with renewed vigor for my life, as if I hadn’t taken a breath in years. Missing out on the mountain view has me greatly disappointed, but hopefully I’ll get to see it tomorrow.
Road trip diet accountability: Cheerios w/skim milk, banana, toast w/peanut butter, 2 cups of decaff hot tea, hard boiled egg; Sonic grilled chicken sandwich, lettuce only and apple slices; Starbucks venti Chai Latte while driving; Ruby Tuesday salad bar for dinner w/ 2 Tblsp of dressing and 1 tsp of Sunflower seeds, lettuce, carrots, 1 egg. The latte pushed me over my caloric intake allowance, but it was incredibly needed caffeine and served as my sweet treat for the day. I expect there will be some weight gain from this trip, but since I fought off potato chips, burgers, fries, greasy chinese food, candy bars, pastries and fried foods, I still call this a WIN.
If you’ve missed the previous installments from this trip, they include Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. For the reason for the trip, read the “Great” section of my blog post “The Great, The Meh, and the *So* Not Cute.”
These photos are from the long drive. I didn’t take many that weren’t uber blurry, no surprise. As mentioned before, click on the slideshow to be able to read the photo descriptions or you may not know what they heck it is.
Thanks for reading!