What I had not prepared for was sickness. Or sleeplessness. Eden coughed and whimpered all night; Maeve cried with a runny nose; my throat hurt, a storm lit the sky with strobe-like lightning for hours. At 5 AM (thanks, Maeve) feeling hit by a truck and utterly thrashed, I was ready to bag the whole thing, car packed or not.
She has counted down the days and hours, watching the video of the zip line her dad and uncle Max just strung over the pond, imagining her firm little hands gripping rope. She has taken steam showers and drank countless glasses of orange juice to fight her cold.
There was nothing to do but to wake the girls and go. Motherhood in all it's glory.
We are now on 81 south. The early morning sun on the foothills, grey-bottomed clouds, pale blue sky behind them, Queen Anne's lace and chicory, greasy McDonald's breakfast sandwiches, our neighbors at a middle-of-no-where rest stop who offered to hold Maeve, my favorite childhood movie playing behind me – these are the gifts I'm counting as my head pounds and eyes sting.
These details are not what Eden will remember, nor how we blew our noses a thousand times, burning through a whole roll of toilet paper. What I remember about road trips with my mom is the sense of it -- the adventure of getting in the car early, the safety of being with her, the small treats and stops we didn't usually make, the excitement of finally turning up the mountain. It must have been the way my mom arranged these days for us, her tone, that have left me remembering the twinge of magic instead of the slow stretching hours.
When I talked to my sister last night and told her about our trip, she said, "how very mom of you," which made me laugh. But driving down the very same roads this morning, I hope she's right -- those trips were the glue, days we still talk about.