Sometimes my spontaneity brings about the most amazing road trip adventures and sometimes, it just leads to a dead end, but always, the journey is worth it.
There is something about the open road that helps me put life in perspective, especially when living in a bubble of pandemic. Windows down and country views offer me time to imagine what lies ahead, to keep a positive perspective of the experiences to come, while the years of detours turned lessons fade away in the rearview mirror.
Saturday morning, I was restless. I wanted to get out of town for the day. Even when you love where you live, a small town can be claustrophobic. I wanted the break from routine. No looking at a phone, a sink of dirty dishes or a washing machine. A day to play. Spontaneous adventure. So, I asked my kids to ride along. Keep in mind, my “kids” are adults now, at 18 and 20 years old. The fact they had a Saturday free and were willing to spend it with me was already a check mark in the happy column.
My destination was Collingwood. The goal was to jump into the blue waters at Craigleith Provincial Park. This place is never crowded. I believed this a safe way to get away and still stay away from others. I have a sentimental attachment to this place centred around my son, made all the sweeter because in September he will move out to attend college. Exciting times. Big changes. A last road trip. My two favourite co-pilots.
Turns out, hundreds of people share my affection for Craighleith and got up way earlier than we did to take up every spot allocated for the Summer of COVID-19. So, here I am with my big kids in the car, all pumped up to jump in the beautiful blue of Georgian Bay and I can’t even stand on the rocks, much less dive in. We just sat there, looking out the car window at that giant body of water and knew we couldn’t get to it. We could see it for miles, but we couldn’t get near it. Dead end. Epic road trip fail. It was going to be a quiet drive home.
As I turned the car around, headed for home, I apologized to the kids for failing on the mission. Another disappointment. The beautiful blue waters of Georgian Bay so close and yet so far was a metaphor for 2020 thus far. The frustration of months of this stupid pandemic was starting to bubble to my surface. Anger. Resentment for rules and limitations. And despite it all, the awe of that spectacular view of the water, constant and affirming that the drive was worth it. The time together was worth it.
The best part? My kids, who have endured a life-time of these adventures with mom, thanked me for trying. Their disappointment was temporary because they too just needed a change of scenery, more than the reward of a destination. If the pandemic has taught them anything it’s an appreciation for the life they enjoyed pre-COVID-19 and patience that better days will come. They understand now that moments are temporary and sacred.
Whatever comes, we all believe the road ahead is full of hope and know the memories in the rearview mirror are paved with love. Everything changes, but nothing changes if you focus on what matters.