Chasing Plates

Chasing Plates

We had a road trip on the calendar. It was a big one. 14 hours of driving with less than 24 hours at our destination.

I’m not new to flying solo. I love adventure. We explore often. Purchasing a little camper for my babes on a whim last summer stretched my vision of capability, but in the midst of an overflowing life plate, it felt intimidating.

I packed the night before and didn’t really peek at the map guide until the morning we were to leave. I was letting thoughts creep in… I’ve been on long trips when they were younger…I know what they look like. I have scars to prove it. Will I get everything crossed off my life list before we leave? What if I get tired and have trouble staying awake without a co-pilot? Am I taking on too much? What if the kids break down on me and I’m strapped solo?

I made the decision to squash the intimidation in its infancy and mold it into adventure. It’s the one thing you do have control over.

I know that a positive perspective for any challenge starts with my adoption of the idea as possibility vs difficulty. A chore transforms into a privilege.

14 hours of driving looked like…

  • Backseat spool knitting, sticker exchanges, coloring, beading, reading…
  • Blasting a song and singing together at the top of our lungs.
  • Chasing plates – tracking license plates with the thrill of a rare and distant find.
  • The list of our spies handwritten by a small hand in practice, a mind forming words from sound.
  • Little hands tightly gripping pencils for precision writing, full concentration displayed by the tip of a tongue sticking out of the side of a mouth.
  • Spotting the signs indicating the crossing of state lines. There is a certain magic and sense of accomplishment in that, as if your car leapt a canyon to arrive in a new land. Loud cheers follow…
  • A surprise pit-stop for a ride on an indoor Ferris Wheel, nervous-meets-thrilled giggles all the way around.
  • Pit-stops to refuel both car and body. Spurts of exercise – intervals of lunges, squats, kicks, jumping jacks, and silly dances together in rest stop bathrooms to wake the sleeping muscles of our lower regions.
  • Emergency roadside bathroom breaks in muddy field approaches, giggling as she dangles off the side of the car, balancing on the sideboard, avoiding the puddle’s trail.
  • Drinking the chip crumbs from the bottom of the bag.
  • Unsolicited gratitude from little growing hearts peppered into the silence…
    “I love just being together.”
    “Mama, this is fun.”
    “Mama, I love just being in the car resting together.”
  • Eclectic gas stations filled with kitschy, quirky art, state-branded wares, and tchotchkes.
  • A backseat helium balloon fight where delirium bordered distress, but never quite crossed over.
  • Our personal interviews – taking turns learning about each other…
  • “Raise your hand if you love our ‘swimming in from the bay at Nanni’s lake’ tradition, but it scares you a little…” We all lifted a hand and exchanged an understanding smile that bonds us.
  • Would you rather winter ski or water ski?
  • Tell me about your favorite season…
  • Would you rather visit the Bahamas or Alaska?

One of my favorite memories of these road trips, traveling together, is the conversation we have. We ponder everything from ‘the way power lines work’ to ‘what life on an island is like.’ I love the engagement of minds and listening to their ideas come to life. I love the time we are held together in a space, free from distraction, to dig deeper than the day-to-day. I love the personal interviews. I love to dream with them and laugh together. We have a few ponders left to answer…he recorded them here. Framing this.

I want my babes to embrace adventure.
I want them to understand patience.
I want them to practice self-entertainment often.
I want them to understand that memories are made and thrills are found by making much out of little.
That they not be consumed by the details or inconvenience of any given situation, but see possibility.
I want them to seek and discover their own happiness, not relying on others to provide it.

As a single parent I’ve made a habit of proving myself wrong, pushing beyond self-doubt and limitation to see that I’m capable of so much more than I may accept for myself. A road trip may be a somewhat insignificant example, but it’s one that demonstrates a general philosophy of openness and potential.

We made it home Sunday evening. We did it. An adventure was had. Life was lived. Celebrations were rich. Love was exchanged.

Hen And Chicks Road Trip…

Happy week to you… Cheers! J


  1. This is the sweetest! I’d love in on your conversations.

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