Self-care: check. Hot weather: check. July: check. I did a Nike+ free workout last night that was so difficult I had to stop halfway through. But at least it wasn’t running, which I need to take a break from and do some stuff for the other parts of my body, lest I get to the point again where I can’t walk, let alone run.
Mom is at least pretending to be normal these days, so I am going ahead with the road trip. D and I leave Thursday early evening for South Bend, our halfway point that really isn’t halfway, but is a good stopping point. Then AROUND Chicago, not through, as I always get confused at the stupid toll booths and never have the right money and risk getting a ticket as I went in the wrong lane. We’ve been going to this hotel for so many years now that they always put a pack and play in the room (SNIF) which obviously I no longer need. This is also the bitter end of my thousands of Marriott points, with which I’ve gotten free rooms all these years. On the way back, I’ll have to pay for the room, which I haven’t done in years. I got the good out of those points, for sure.
I remember a few years ago when we went. I was so tired and we needed to get some food and I was THRILLED to find that Carrabba’s delivered. I normally eschew chain restaurants but when you need some food and are on the road, you could do worse. I also remember him being a baby and me trying to take him to Cracker Barrel and him having a complete melt down. It was so embarrassing. Last year, on the way up to WI, we met a good friend of mine I got to know through a 5/09 birth board who lives in the CHI area (well, lived; she just moved to the Southwest). She brought her similarly-aged progeny as well as other of her gorgeous, energetic brood and they happily took over the hotel room, turning on some teen program on TV and happily scarfing down pizza and pop after we had all romped in the hotel pool. I loved it. I remember another time where D and I played a marching game on the basketball court there, in order to avoid spiders. He made the whole game up and it had some elaborate rules. There was only one spider, but we imagined there were others and then had to remember where they were as we marched around, chanting. Last year, we saw the corner of a fireworks show out the window, after going to a run-down, abandoned playground where I saw a gorgeous butterfly that we chased throughout the adjacent field. Then there was the time we were just laying down for bed and the fire alarm went off in the hotel and we all had to evacuate. He LOVED seeing the fire trucks screaming down the street. It was a false alarm, thankfully. There’s also a good bit of whining and screaming because of the many hours in the car. Last year, I tried to download some games for the iPad for him, but neither of us knew how to work them, and all involve some kind of adult assistance to perform. I remember some chirpy voice saying the same phrase over and over again from the backseat because he couldn’t figure out how to advance to the game part and I couldn’t help him. Traffic was down to 30mph because of all the construction and I had to pee, and he was really frustrated because he couldn’t figure it out, and crying and yelling, and I almost flung the fucking thing out the window.
Also last year, I remember him snuggling up in the giant bed with me (a king bed is one of the huge perks I really enjoy that comes with traveling) and me flipping on the TV and finding a Tony Bourdain travel/food show, and feeling very settled and happy in that moment.
After we return from WI, the following weekend is “vacation” weekend. As I have no money for a real vacation this year, we are going to just take a couple of days off around the weekend and do camping-style things. We may go down to Mohican for the day and have a picnic, and see if he is open to canoeing. We will sleep in sleeping bags on the living room floor and make s’mores over the flame on the stove. We may talk about bugs and how to identify different trees and plants and such, and go for a hike in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. And we may get a meal in Amish country, or visit Malabar Farm. However things shake out.
In another month and a half, the boy enters kindergarten, for real. I’ve asked his teachers at preschool to make him work on his letters EVERY DAY, since they seem to be able to make him do it and when he is at home, he refuses and whines and complains that it’s boring. But he’s working on folding his clothes now, even though that is also “boring,” and I keep showing him how to tie his shoes as he has to do it soon. And now I’m making him try to brush his teeth alone, though I am watching and guiding. All part of this endless, difficult journey to make him not need me anymore.
One day, it will be the grossest thing ever to share a bed with Mom when on a road trip, and I will look for hotels that have a one bedroom so he can have a door and his privacy. I am not looking forward to those days. I like these ones.