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There’s a feeling of bliss that is almost beyond comparison in my life.
When we were kids we’d go on these perfect summer vacations every July. Two weeks of air-conditioned condos in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – days of beach then pool then restaurant then arcade then amusement park. Mini-golf. Pringles! (we never got Pringles in “real life”) Seashells and boardwalks and ice cream and new friends and..I could go on for paragraphs. You know how it is.
I used to get butterflies before the 12 hour road trips. So much living to do..just in the car alone.
We’d leave at night – maybe 8:00 or 9:00 pm. My mom would pack coolers and bags full of sandwiches, chips, string cheese and juice boxes. Every time I get overwhelmed about packing food for two kids or thinking about how if we want to go anywhere by plane, that’s four plane tickets, well I think of my parents planning trips for seven people. It couldn’t have been easy. Just my older sister’s bladder alone! We’d eat our sandwiches somewhere in the middle of somewhere. I’d add a string cheese and a juice box. One by one, everyone but me would nod off. There would be no more rustling in a cooler or bag. There’d be no more bathroom breaks. We wouldn’t see the likes of them until our breakfast stop. My dad would drive until dawn with no trouble. I’d stay awake either listening to his music or listening to my walkman. Yes, I said walkman. I’d be in my favorite seat of the giant minivan or GMC Truck. Third row – left window. I’d have a blanket to combat the a/c and a pillow and my Donald Duck. I’d have music and dreams and excitement.
Most of all, I’d feel safe. The road trips spoke to so many parts of me – adventure, mystery, exhilaration, security.
Everyone else would sleep. I would be happy to watch a dark and unknown world race by while I reveled in the security.
I used to love The Game of Life by Hasbro. It wasn’t so much the game itself, but the little cars that you’d securely fasten the knob “people” into, as you completed your family while cruising through your colorful “life.” I loved toys in which dolls fit securely into cars.
Baby dolls in their strollers and cribs. Barbies in their beds and corvettes. Stuffed animals nestled oh so securely in makeshift sleeping bags. Heck, sleeping bags by themselves. What a concept! Snug, secure, warm. Theoretically safe from bugs and critters. Or worse.
I have spent my life seeking safety and security, after it was so rudely taken from me at my (birth) father’s death. It’s in the way I played with my toys. It’s in the way I looked as forward to the long car trips with my famiy as much as I looked forward to the actual vacations, and even in the comings home. It wasn’t just the new world to explore and the familiar home to return to – it was in the way I felt so safe in the car. So secure in my seat. So warm and blanketed. So fed and surrounded. So going places in my life.
I admit I’ve been sad since Des weaned himself over the week. I don’t think the end of breastfeeding has to be sad, though. There’s quite a happiness and relief and a patting myself on the back for a job well done. 12 months. It was a great run. Even though I’ve been able to leave him for long periods of time for months now, I still felt like celebrating with a “date” to the local fireworks with Scarlet last night. It was her first time and way past her bedtime. We got sticky ice cream and shaved ice that went largely uneaten by her. We cuddled together in a lawn chair my friend graciously brought for us and oohed and aahed and cheered for each sparkler.
The walk from the field to the parking lot was not unlike Bourbon Street in New Orleans at 3:00 am. We were all body to body with tens of thousands of friends and strangers. With help from good friends, I wrapped Scarlet up in a blanket and put her in Desmond’s stroller where she fell asleep on the way to the car. My torch had been lit from my parent’s flame, just as their torches had been lit from their parent’s flame, and so forth. We the security-takers, have now become the security-givers. And as I shuttled her sleepy body into the van, buckled her seatbelt, wiped sweaty hair from her forehead and tucked her stuffed cat, Dinah, into her arms..
..well that was a feeling to behold. I felt like I had just won a round at the game of life.