Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wondering, Wonder and Shame

Ever wonder what it'd be like to go on a cross-country road trip with your husband and small children? Imagine it with full-color and smell-o-vision. You might get a waft of the relative freshness of gas-station restrooms across the miles, as compared to the human-fume-infused, infrared-nostril-searing scent in your car. Perhaps you would feel every fiber of your comfort-cushion seats screeching across your body as you struggle to rest with 40 mind-numbing hours listening to bad crackle and worse country music on the pleading-for-silence radio behind you. Or maybe you would envision the roadside discourse with an oversealous tan-clad state trooper who feels morally compelled to tell you that he's doing you a favor as he writes you a $255 ticket instead of jailing you for fleeing his state at top-gun speeds in your minivan. You could picture all those things and you'd have a good idea what'd be like.

But if those visions kept you from taking the trip, you might miss so much more.

You'd fail to see your husband huff and puff his way to the top of a rest-station background hill with seven kids in tow, just to show them what the mountain ranges beyond look like. Even better is watching them all come back down, flushed and excited because the road ahead looks so spectacular.

You'd miss supervising your children as they carefully select the three rocks you're permitting them to take in the car. You can't imagine the depth of emotion invested in choosing one for color, one for texture and one 'just because I have a good feeling about it'.

You would lose the chance to lean back on the massive rock-walls of the grand canyon with the heat of your children pressing upon you as you all gaze up at the milky way. It's one of those magic-on-Earth moments to see your child reach out with a wide grasp, convinced he can touch a star, smiling to himself, twinkling in his own right as he reflects the shimmer of the glistening sky beyond.

And then you might also miss having your baby, er big girl, who usually spends most of her time barrelling down on teen years like the rock that famously chased Indiana Jones, take on the countenance of a babe-in-arms as she delights in simple pool-splashing and ice-cream devouring afternoons. So delish!

If you allowed the worries to overcome the wonder, you might miss the chance of a lifetime to be with your family and love them all the way across the plains, through the mountains, into the desert, over the hills, past the storms, beyond the farms, and back into the familiar lights of your city home, completely spent and thoroughly thrilled, in a good-tired kind of way.

Now wouldn't that be a shame?

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