Monday, October 24, 2011

Journeying Across the Heartland

So the past five days, I've been enjoying some family time in the great state of Oklahoma with my parents, my older brother, sister-in-law and their four little boys who are around the same ages as my kiddos.

They have a really cool acreage that is an absolute mecca for children who love to run, jump, drive cool contraptions, dive into sandbars by the river, take glow in the dark hay rack rides and experience a slice of country.  We eat meals, joke with each other, let our kids run amuck and smile at the memories that they're making.

The hardest part is the drive.  It takes eight hours to get there and with a baby, it takes even longer.  My husband and I have a fantastic arrangement.  He knows that I'm the control freak and let's me do the driving.  He enjoys making up fun games with the kids, reading books, discovering new apps on the iPad, and talking about what we'll do when we get to our said destination.  I, on the other hand, view it as a challenge.  How fast can I get from point A to point B by maximizing gas, time, energy and bathroom breaks?  I also get a chance to sort of day dream in between entering into games with the kids.

But on the way home today, I thought, "I'm really tired, I just want to zone out to my iPod and pray that this car autopilots us home."  Instead, I decided to really pay attention to the scenery.  It was a gorgeous fall the 70's for most of the way.  The sun was shining.  The trees are at the end of changing colors and the sky was blue.  It reminded me of being little and going on trips with my family looking at license plates and playing the memory game.

I'm sure that to many a trip from Nebraska to Oklahoma is uneventful, boring, and prolonged.  And, to an extent, they would be right.  But a shift of perspective and a focus on the present, helps me to realize that the heartland is beautiful, that these times are few and far between and that I should cherish my son/daughter asking me if I would rather live in Asia or Antarctica.  Here's to family road trips....a cornerstone of childhood.

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