Last we talked I left you on the ferry. We docked in Milwaukee, giggled while driving off of it in our car, and set out to find a place to sleep and eat.
Someone was ready for food.
I was in. Sold.
Jessica wanted chili and lemonade. I had what the waitress boasted about and a glass of merlot.
We asked our waitress what hotel’s to check out and she gave us some good tips but it turned out that there was a conference in town and ALL hotels downtown were booked. Solid. So back in the car for a little more driving and we finally landed at a hotel. With a pool.
Here’s what I learned about my daughter that I already knew: she loves to swim. More than anything.
On her list of things to do for the entire trip was:
See Uncle Justin
Make silly videos
Spend her money
Be with me
After we got settled in our room she stayed up late watching something on TV while I did a bit of googling for the next day and got together some options for her. (That lasted all of one night.) The following morning she was awake at about 5 am and I kept asking her to wait at least an hour. One more hour of sleep.
We made it about 45 minutes – then it was time to EAT. The continental breakfast was in view of the swimming pool. So we discussed our plan for the day – on it was “go swimming” after swimming was “second breakfast” quickly followed by “more driving – let’s find an adventure!”
So at 6:45 am before a shower, barely through one cup of coffee – I donned my bathing suit with sleepy eyes and skin 4 shades away from snow … and jumped in the pool with my pixie.
While the rest of the breakfast goers watched (in horror?) and pretended not to see how much fun we were having while they listened to boring news in their suit jackets. Touche, travelers. You do your thing, we’ll do ours.
One of the most liberating things on this trip for me was letting go of the expectations. Of the “how I’m supposed to act” thing with kids in tow. Instead of holing up on the sidelines “life gaurding” my kid’s fun – I was a part of it. Cannon balls, Mermaid school, Marco Polo – no matter that we were the only ones in the pool.
A good hour plus of swimming and we were ready for second breakfast, showers, and the road ahead.
I used my iPhone’s MAPS daily and asked for the route towards Minnesota … magnified it and chose a different road. A country one.
I think Day 2 was my favorite day. Fresh from the feeling of making this happen, open to anything, no one else was around or having an opinion. I was energized and broken (in the best way) and felt so free.
I spent the months leading up to this road trip randomly breaking down in the car and just crying. I was ready for this trip – so ready for this freedom. I needed it, I wanted it. I couldn’t wait to pour into my girl, to be with her and love her and show her and teach her and just hold her. I was surprised when the day came that I didn’t shed a tear.
Apparently I was saving it all for this day. Day 2 on Country Road randmonletternumber in Wisconsin. I learned that Wisconsin doesn’t have Garage Sales – they have Rummage Sales. They name their roads after the alphabet and when they run out they start doubling up. ROAD NN, ROAD Q, ROAD HH.
We were on the road with the sun shinning and the windows down for about 10 minutes – Jessica took up camp in the back of the car, radio was off and we were listening to the music of the morning, of the asphalt underneath our tires. We were being serenaded by the wind splashing our car, by our hair giving in to the whimsy …
And I let go.
I started crying. Slow at first, a release, a calm cleansing and then with purpose. A call to the rest of me, to come with me. To share this moment, to be here. To engage the beauty and feel the pain, to be thankful.
And, God, was I thankful. A worship to the wanderer in me. Completely at peace, so open to whatever lay ahead. Safe.
to be continued …