A promise is a promise, even when circumstances change. I promised my boy a mother-son adventure, hitting the open road with the windows down and the tunes on. What is it they say about best intentions? Somehow, I am sure it relates to a day with yours truly.

The day before we were to set off, my car went to the mechanic for a routine check-up. It came out costing more money than the car’s actual value. I had no choice but to fix my vehicle. Safety first, even if it means a serious hit to the adventure budget. Financially, the trip should have been cancelled, but life is too short to cancel that promise.

Our destination was two hours north to our favorite historic site (yes really, he is my kid after all). Off we went, with Google maps printed off and no fancy navigation system. We didn’t need it. I am my own compass. Road names and highway numbers are for sissies. Besides, I know my geography, for goodness sake.

So, naturally, we got lost. Not like really lost, but suffice it to say Google maps lied (or I can’t read, you decide). The point is we were about 20km off track. No biggie, unless you are 9 years old and totally paranoid that your mother is going to get you lost. Trust issues?

Clearly my son did not inherit the thrill of the unknown from me, or his Grampa Gary. Why, Grampa Gary and I are legendary for our “off the beaten track” explorations, sharing the excitement of finding that back road junction that gets you where you always intended to be – just by sheer luck.

No, my co-pilot is like his father, the Carpenter. Destinations require a set route and time schedule. From point A to point B; one-way, no alternatives. Boring.

I wasn’t worried. We were parallel to where we needed to be and I knew eventually, we’d get there. I can read signs (when I choose too). I was enjoying the scenery. My co-pilot was not. To subdue his anxiety, I pulled a map out of the glove compartment. I figured that would calm him down and confuse him, too, so he’d be quiet and let me sing to the radio in peace.

Nope. He turned into a traffic cop. What 9-year-old finds his way on a huge map of Ontario and starts barking out orders of highway routes and pit stops?

Mine. Geesh.

With a pen, he showed me clearly how Point A and Point B connected via two potential routes and determined which would be fastest. Seriously? Dude, you’re killing my buzz.

So, we followed the straight line, sang rock’n roll, and talked about heavy life stuff. We appreciated the view. We saw the sites. We stopped by the lake and ran right in, clothes and all. We got lost in time, together.

“Mom, you always make time to do cool things with me, even when it’s hard with work and money, and stuff,” my son said. Priceless.

Now, I may not be the best pilot, but I am a woman whose life revolves around her family, trying to build a career, follow a dream and pay the bills too. Sometimes you have to get lost, to get found; switch off to tune in. I always find my True North inside.

Be your own compass.


Kelly Waterhouse