True story: On the way to my road test when I was 16, my driving instructor who accompanied me to the test psyched me up with these words of encouragement: "You're the underdog here, Erin. If you get your license today, I will be surprised" (he might have said "shocked", can't remember). After an almost flawless road test, the police officer signed the paperwork indicating that I had, in fact, earned my license. Afterward, my instructor said some words of profanity expressing his disbelief in my good luck and called my mom to say that I should not be allowed to drive alone even though I had a paper signed by a law enforcement official saying that I could.
I'm not going to get too much into my driving skills, but for the record, my record is squeaky clean. I'm not careless on the road, just don't ask me to drive into the heart of Boston and please don't ever make me parallel park. Also of note, those signs on the highway that post the speed limit on top and then the speed minimum underneath, those were designed for people like me (sorry).
So, I don't love driving, and the idea of driving 16 hours was especially daunting (normally I sleep for 80% of the drive northward). When it came time to decide who would drive the minivan with the two boys, and who would drive the Civic with the Rem dog, we were at a standstill. Naturally, the thought of driving the car with a passenger who wouldn't whine, cry, pee his pants, or throw things at us was appealing.
After a few thumb wrestling matches too close to call, we eventually decided we would take turns. I began the trip driving the minivan with the boys, thinking I would save what would be the relaxing drive in the car for when I started to tire.
I'm happy to report my shift went fabulously. We laughed, we danced, we sang, we reminisced about our favorite moments of the south. For five hours I managed to avoid any screen time for the boys, I drove past an outlet mall with a J Crew, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, and more without stopping (I know), I only drank three coffees, and no one peed in their pants.
When it came time for me to switch to the car, I was ready to put the windows down and cruise (are you singing it too?). But then something happened. After driving by myself for about twenty minutes things started to go downhill. My Pandora station was misbehaving, my audio book made me sleepy, and Remy didn't laugh at any of my jokes. So when we pulled over for fuel shortly thereafter I demanded, "Give me back the minivan!". Jay obliged, and my spirits were immediately lifted. The boys once again kept me awake and entertained, and the ride continued to be smooth sailing until the very end. We even caught a glimpse of this beauty:
The days after our trip I reflected on a couple of things:
1. As a mama to two young (high energy) boys, I often look forward to time alone; peaceful moments where I can refresh and rejuvenate (ideally this would happen during a yoga session by the ocean, but realistically this occurs at 9:30 PM while I browse every aisle of Target until they kick me out). I jumped on the opportunity to drive solo, it sounded like the more desirable option. I soon realized though, sometimes the boys energize me just as much as they drain me, and I actually needed them for this drive. Although those moments quiet moments of me-time are nice (and important) there are times when two silly little boys in tow, is actually what keeps me going.
2. This little nap loving lady can drive 16 hours up the coast, no problemo!