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Here Goes Something

July 12, 2011

You know those ugly return-address labels that charities are always sending you in the mail along with requests for donations? A few months ago I got one of those envelopes from the Sierra Club, but instead of return-address labels they sent me a U.S. map. At the time, plans for this road trip were just taking shape and I wasn’t even sure it was going to work out. But The Hamster was already so excited for the trip that he asked me if he could keep the map, and if I could show him where we would be going.

We taped the map to his bedroom wall, right above his bed, and for weeks as I began working out the parameters of the trip and solidifying details he continued begging me to draw out our route on his map. Eventually I worked out dates and a rough itinerary, and Sam watched intently as I drew it in on his map. And just about every night since, after he brushed his teeth and got into bed (or just got into bed after falsely claiming to have brushed his teeth), he and I would stare at his map, laugh about some of the funnier-named cities (I’m looking at you, Arkadelphia, Arkansas), and talk about the places we’re going to visit and the things we’ll see. As I would do more research and nail down more details, I would reveal planned activities to him during our bedtime mapgazing, each new nugget of information like a little gift about which he’d get excited and ask endless questions.

Those questions! Brilliant, insightful, blatantly obvious, occassionally irrelevant questions like only kids think to ask. How did they decide which presidents to put on Mount Rushmore? Why is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland? How do they know when Old Faithful is going to erupt? Can we buy some potatoes in Idaho? Do they sell Wrigley gum at Wrigley Field? Can we bring one of those big barrels of pretzels from Costco to snack on in the car?

I should probably stop having these discussions with him while he’s hungry.

Anyway, saying that The Hamster and I are excited for this trip is like saying that Geico can save you 15% on your car insurance. We’ve been talking about this trip for months as something great that will happen in the future. And now it’s finally here. And I’m terrified.

OK, “terrified” is a bit of an exaggeration. Mostly, I’m thrilled. I’m looking forward to the adventure. I absolutely cannot wait to see The Hamster when I pick him up at camp in a few hours. And I’m even more excited to see his big sister, who goes to the same camp but has chosen to stay there all summer with her friends instead of spending five weeks stuck in a car with two crazy boys.

But I’m also nervous. I’m nervous that I forgot to pack something important. I’m nervous that the driving will wear on me more than I’m expecting it to. That I’ve miscalculated on time and we’ll either have to rush through everything or skip some cool stuff entirely. That the weather will suck everywhere we go. That we’ll have trouble finding kosher food and end up eating a lot more peanut butter than I’m hoping to (no offense to peanut butter, though, which is one of my absolute favorite foods–just not one of my favorite dinners). That Sam won’t enjoy some of the things we do, or worse–that he’ll be bored. Most of all, I’m nervous that this trip we’ve been talking about and planning for months won’t live up to our mapgazing expectations.

OK, enough of that. Nerves be damned, it’s time to hit the road. The car is packed and gassed up. The trip odometer is reset to o.o. I even remembered to pack the big barrel of pretzels from Costco. Today’s itinerary: visiting Abby at camp, grabbing Sam, and then our first real stop: the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. The Hamster and the highway both await.

Here goes something …

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Miriam Gottlieb permalink
    July 12, 2011 7:46 am

    I am so excited for you both! I can’t wait to read all about it. Enjoy and send our love to both kids!

  2. July 12, 2011 7:51 am

    So torn. Super happy for you but will miss my boys so much!!

  3. Michaelle Gorman permalink
    July 12, 2011 8:02 am

    Lot’s of luck as you embark on this AweSam adventure!

  4. Yehuda and Esther permalink
    July 12, 2011 8:10 am

    We hope your driving is traffic free, the weather just what should be expected, and Sam as questioning and you as answering as ever. Good luck, as we are all living vicariously through you. And if we ever mock its out of jealousy and love.

  5. July 12, 2011 8:33 am

    Looking forward to the pictures and the stories along the way. May your GPS be accurate and your stomachs never empty, and Sam’s batteries full.

  6. July 12, 2011 9:16 am

    Um, I think you forgot your luggage….

  7. July 12, 2011 5:43 pm

    May you both find joy in each other’s company and in the many fun experiences you will have.
    Love, Mom

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