Sometimes the days leading up to a vacation can be so stressful, so packed with activity trying to tie up loose ends and anticipate problems, that you wonder if it's even worth it to try to get away. That's how I was starting to feel this week, especially considering the number of emotional twists and turns this week's journey entailed.
But my doubts dropped away with the miles we left behind us. Time on the road is like a spring-cleaning for your brain. There's nothing to do but stare out at the changing scenery, listen to music that triggers memories, and just think and think and think until the old thoughts are gone and your brain is swept spotless, ready for a fresh batch.
I fell asleep soon after we pulled out at 5 am (I only had one hour of sleep Friday night...all those loose ends to tie up!) and woke to the tall trees of east Texas filling my window. They gave way to the bayous of Louisiana, and then, before too long, the alternating deep forests and rivers of Mississippi, Alabama and, finally, Florida. I love my Texas hill country, but I appreciate the green surrounding us now, and the other differences - the birds, smells, sounds, and even heat.
The faces are the best part - faces and hugs and voices I love and had missed because we let too much time go by in between seeing each other. Tom's parents, brothers, my wonderful sister-in-law, nephews, nieces...and more will be arriving every day, traveling from different corners of the United States.
I look forward to soaking up sunshine on the beach, watching movies, playing cards, and shopping with my adopted sisters. We'll be crowded - it will get loud and hectic and I'll wish for a few minutes of silence and solitude. I'll worry about my critters back home. But I'll try to remember to hang on to the moment, soak it up, wrap it around me and enjoy it, not wish it away or trade it for anything else. I'll set the worry free like a balloon, and tell silence and solitude to go back home and wait for me in Texas.