I had one thing to do today.
I had to get us (the Monkey and me) from Phoenix, AZ to San Pedro, CA. We'd be spending the night at my Aunt's house and heading home tomorrow, leaving us all day to get from A to B. Thankfully that is only actually a 6-hour drive, so I figured we'd get there in plenty of time and maybe even sneak in a surprise visit to my bro at work (though we'd also planned to see him on the way out of SoCal tomorrow).
After packing the car up in the morning, we were able to get out on the road by 10am, which was the goal of sorts. Any later than that I was afraid I'd feel it was already late morning, practically afternoon/evening....why not stay another day? And it's a good thing I snuck out when I did...
Today's New Activity: First Ever Mama/Son Road Trip Day
Folks, I really did want to stay. Another week at least. Two perhaps. As I got onto the freeway and headed west, I could only lament my departure and curse the American corporate work structure for its heaviness on the work part and severe dearth of vacation time. I was thinking to myself, 'Phoenix, I'm not done with you. I'll be back for you. I have unfinished business here...somehow.'
I had a lot on my mind as I saw the cities in the rear view mirror gradually get smaller in population and infrastructure, until there were just tiny towns and miles and miles and miles of desert in between. I thought of my son, so sweet and calm and mellow in the back seat. I thought of the turns our lives have taken...ALL of our lives--my son and me, the friends I visited with yesterday and those who couldn't be there, the family I love.
And I thought of how fitting it was to be on the road today. Looking back, I realized it was a pattern I'd established long ago and that I'd perhaps repeated not-so-subconsciously again. I thought about other times in my life when I'd just crested the hill of a difficult period and I realized that I'd always taken to the road in those moments. Not only that, the very roads I'd traveled in this trip had been involved before too.
I found myself full of emotion...cathartic, cleansing emotion. I was full of sorrow and joy all at once, looking backward to where I'd come from and forward to the wide open prospects, all at once. And full of questions about the numerous different paths I could have taken and the ones I would chose going forward.
And of course, there was music. I put the iPod on shuffle for a while, just for the thrill of what's-gonna-come-next?, but had to revisit an old Dave Matthews Band album that had helped me through some very tough times before and which was full of we're-all-gonna-die-so-get-busy-living messages. That was a good call. Also, because this was a road trip after all, the Grateful Dead were invited along, and it made my heart sing to see Monkey in the back seat, drumming his little hands along and digging it well and truly.
And a couple of hours in, during stops in at multiple shops in the podunk town of Quartzsite, I found myself relaxing into the idea that we had no reason to hurry this trip, no time obligation or deadline, and no plans whatsoever. So we took it slowly and made lots of stops and really and truly enjoyed the ride. Monkey took a long and super conked-out nap for a few hours and didn't even stir when I transferred him to his stroller at a taco joint in Indio, CA, where I stopped for lunch.
Watching him rest so peacefully, there at the restaurant and again when he continued sleeping in the car afterward, I was filled with peace myself. By the time we reached the outskirts of L.A., passing through two of my childhood cities and into the fast-moving, cramped up freeways of my youth, I knew in my heart that all was well. All was well in all that ever was and was to be. All is well, all is well.
All is well.