Have baby: Will travel...greetings from the heartland

Filed under: Babies, Teens, Relatives, Activities: Babies, Places To Go

[Have baby: Will travel chronicles one new family's roadtrip adventure from New York to the South...and back.]

Wow. I've been without consistent (or any) Internet access since I last wrote, and all I can say is: wow. I never realized how dependent my life (and to some extent my livelihood) had become on the worldwide web. At first it felt like I'd lost something very, very important to me, but, now that I have it back, it feels rather refreshing to have gone without it.

So what have I been up to the last few days? A lot, as you might imagine. The experiment--er, trip--is turning out much better than I expected. You know, I always considered myself to be a "glass half full" kind of girl, but considering how negatively I felt about what could and should happen on this trip, our first trip with the baby, our first trip driving through different states, our first trip with the dog--our first trip as parents, adults--it would seem that I am actually more of the "glass half empty" mind.

Maybe feeling negatively about things makes it a lot easier to avoid disappointment. I had few expectations and, as a result, all of them were met; those I didn't even know about have been surpassed.

Take my trip to visit my in-laws, for example. I've been there before, done the mini-road trip from Louisville to Delphi, Indiana before. It's always been relaxing but I never thought I'd have as much fun as I did. They live on seven acres of fabulous land, complete with woods, a route to the Tippecanoe River, and a garden chock full of vegetables we ate for dinner every night.

I also got to spend a lot of solo time without the bambino. He was watched by my husband or the grandparents while I had both hands to myself. It was wonderful. I spent the time catnapping in a pink recliner armchair, buying soap at the health food store in Lafayette, Indiana (very cool town, lots of auto dealerships--and a STARBUCKS...but no wifi) and playing Yahtzee.

To boot, there were several grandkids spending time with grandma and grandpa when we arrived to make things more lively. Much like I spent at least two weeks each summer with my cousins in Russell Springs, Kentucky, with my grandparents, exploring woods, riding bikes up and down the hills and telling ghost stories all night long when we were supposed to be asleep, so it is with this set of kids--one girl, one boy, nine and twelve respectively.

The twelve year old, whether he knows it or not, is spending his last summer as a full-time kid with his grandparents. Next year he'll be in the middle of thirteen, that year when everything you've ever known goes haywire. the things he finds cool now will be silly next year. The long leisurely days he spends aimlessly, doing nothing, will be filled with whatever it is thirteen year olds have to worry about.

For now, though, playing video games in the basement and picking blackberries straight from the garden--and eating them--is king. Looking for snakes and identifying birds and strange insects follows at a close second.

Being with those kids, I felt like a kid again myself. We slept in the basement, which isn't really a basement but actually the first floor of my in-laws spacious house set into a hill. I ate fresh vegetable and fruit straight from the garden. I went down to the river to explore.

This time, though, I brought my husband, my baby and my camera. This time I was introduced as a daughter in law, and this time I was treated like an adult be everyone to whom I was introduced. It was odd, really, as up until this point I'd never thought of myself as anyone other than just little old me.

There was little television and even less access to the Internet. They have dial up which is spotty at best. I ended up spending more time playing Spider Solitaire than trying to get on-line. These folks live way out in the middle of nowhere, which is exactly where they want to be.

They expect that one day we'll understand their reasons for wanting to get away from it all, and that we'll want to join them. I don't think they realize just how much of a city girl I really am. They see the Kentuckian in me, but not the New Yorker. Or perhaps they see through the New Yorker. I'll never be sure.

As much as I enjoyed my time in Indiana, and as much as I really loved my trip to Louisville this time around, I don't honestly know if I'll ever be able to leave New York. I worry that I am spending too much time and money in New York, things that could be saved for my son. I worry that I am keeping him from his grandparents, who clearly adore him and would do anything (except move to New York) for him. I worry about not having a yard for him to kick around in and no woods for him to explore.

Ah, such are the musings of a mother, of a parent. Not having access to write about my experiences for the past few days has given me much time to reflect. Perhaps too much. My husband tells me that spending time worrying about giving my son the best (whatever that is) is not giving him the best. He's right.

Maybe tomorrow, somewhere between Pennsylvania and Brooklyn I'll figure it all out. Today I left Delphi, Indiana, wandered through Ohio and ended up in "Penna" as all the road signs refer to it. I didn't figure out whatever it is I am trying to figure out, but things are starting to become clearer.

Everyone always says it's not about the destination but the journey. This is true, although I can't wait to sleep in my own bed. Tomorrow night I will get my wish.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.