What I Miss the Most

When I first started dreaming of life on the road, I was at the tail-end of about 30 years of being responsible for family members in various settings, from hospitals and nursing homes to my kitchen table early each cold morning before school. 

The idea of literally driving away from it all pleased me to no end—I’d punctuate conversations with friends by saying how I’d thumb my nose at the world as we pulled away. They’d ask me, “What about friends and family?” and I would do that: I’d stick my thumb on my nose and wiggle my fingers and poke my tongue out to show them how I felt about all the social ties I was leaving behind. I was ready.

In most ways I’m still thumbing my nose at the world. In some ways that world is just a mirror for whatever I throw at it.

I keep wanting to call my mom and tell her about wherever I am.  Over and over. She and I took a trip across the country once, sleeping in a shared tent each night—she would have loved this more than anyone I know. 

And sometimes I get a Twilight-Zone glimpse of how this life is very much like the one my sister was planning for herself before she died. We were opposites in character but shared more than she’ll know.

My son, though, the only one who’s still here and thriving, is the one I miss the most now. 

When Tracy and I drove off in March, he was still at college. He was with his friends, busy with work and classes, big ideas for the future. Now, like with nearly everyone else, everything’s a bit unclear even to him. 

And that’s hardest for me to be far from. I’d thought originally that he would fly or take a train to visit me in beautiful places during school breaks. Or I’d do the same to hear him play in concerts.

Here we are looking at Airstreams together four and half years ago—we always checked the guest bed layout. 

Instead of those visits, I text him several times a day (aren’t you glad you’re not my child?) and keep in the back of my mind what it would take for me to get to him at the drop of a hat if I wanted to.  So, I have one map on my computer for our Airstream adventure and one map in my head for how to get myself to wherever my son is. 

I’m learning that responsibility and loss and love are all close relatives. You can’t be done with one without the other ballooning to occupy empty space.  And that’s a good thing. 

4 thoughts to “What I Miss the Most”

  1. All true. Thank goodness for phones and computers.I do know how you miss your mom. Its been 10 years for me and I still have a hard time with wanting to just pick up the phone and chat. Its hard, but you are having the best adventure on this journey and she would be pleased for you,just like I am.

  2. When my hairdresser asked where I’d like to go when the corona virus is truly under control, and we have a vaccine, I thought about it for only a minute. In the immediate course – hugging my kids, then a pub! (we still aren’t chancing restaurants and bars, just trying to be satisfied with carry out. But for travel – out to Cincinnati to see my brother.
    Meanwhile, you are on a great adventure! Enjoy!

    1. I can hardly wait to go in brewery tasting rooms again. I hope we can both hug our kids again soon!