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July 17, 2008

That's Why I'm Here

Devra1985 When I began telling family, friends and professional colleagues that I would be taking a road trip across the country the response ranged from "I've always wanted to drive across the country, it's the ultimate road trip!" to "Devra, I say this to you with only love in my heart, you are completely batshit crazy!"  Both of these responses, and any in between, were and are equally accepted and respected by me. 

As a kid living in New York our family didn't continuously own a car.  My mother at one time had a "share" car with a neighbor and my dad owned a 1967 Old's Cutlass until the day it got stolen, stripped and (Devra; circa 1980-something)     left for dead alongside the FDR.  Not having our own car meant we usually would rent a car to use. I remember the rush of anticipation when my parents rented a car. The color and brand revealed only when we went to pick it up.  Renting a car symbolized embarking on brand new experiences, even if the catalyst wound up being a two door unairconditioned Chevy Chevette with red, white and blue plaid interior.

The Renting Of The Car indicated my mom might be taking me up to Vermont to see the leaves change over an October weekend or it could mean driving up Highway 101 with my dad during a trip out West. My parents taught me there is sociological value in hopping into a car instead of onto an airplane.  More people to meet along the way, more experiences to share with your travel companions. For our family being in a car meant the only rear seat entertainment system was a book and reading at the wrong time resulted in adults demanding, "LOOK AT THE SCENERY!"

No denyin' I wouldnt have met Whodini and Kool & The Gang had we chosen to board an airplane bound for Newark.

My parents instilled in me driving isn't just about the driver, it's about the community in which you are driving. Being  safe, being a considerate driver yet still understanding how to be a defensive driver. I remember my dad trying to teach me how to drive  his manual transmission diesel Volkswagen Rabbit and the perspiration  running down the side of my head and dripping off the ends of my feathered hair. My dad sternly warning me me, "You are driving a ton of metal at a high rate of speed. You could kill someone with this thing. Pay attention, follow the rules. Drive safely." and after that he made me change all four tires just so I would know how to do it.

I still remember the first song  playing on the radio as I drove away from my mother for the first time as a newly licensed driver. The switch from passenger to driver made me downright giddy.  I loved to drive, loved to check out the scenery, just loved to have my window down and listening to my own music *on cassette.*

When I found out I was  selected the timing couldn't have worked out more perfectly. Both of our kids are away at summer camp, my husband is working long hours finishing a project and I was already planning on attending BlogHer.  It also gave me one more opportunity to "walk the talk" about my strongly held belief that being a parent is one facet among many of a woman or man's life. Having children need not result in abandoning interests outside of being with our children. 

I meet too many parents who feel guilty about pursuing their interests for fear that it will somehow make them a neglectful parent putting undue pressure upon themselves to put these things off "until the kids are grown."  I'm not saying this is unreasonable, just to consider for a moment that your children actually might want to see your "non-parent side."  My older son is  impressed I went to grad school with this guy's aunt. When he tours in our city, we go to his concert and I always bring  him a cherry pie and cookies for his band. Upon observing a stressed mom with a toddler in a  store my younger son has shared, "I think that mom needs your book." My kids know I am very proud of them and their accomplishments and seeing grownups accomplish stuff too is good for them to know about, since, guess what? They will eventually be grownups too.  My kids are looking forward to hearing about the road trip and seeing some of the pictures and video. Not all, because some just aren't appropriate for them to see at their current age. But some day when they are older they will be able to learn even more about what their mom has done in addition to driving them both all over hell being thier mom.

This particular road trip adventure may be just what you dream of doing or maybe you would never want to nagivate that trip. What may be one person's life dream, may be another's week in hell.  Whether this road trip is something you would do or not isn't the  point. 

The point is this is something  I wanted to do and I did it. And that's why I'm here.

Devra also does what she wants to do at Parentopia and DC Metro Moms


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very well said. thank you. i am trying to keep that in mind as i train for half marathon and have to leave the kids in the sitter room or i get a sitter.

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