We are now packing for the upcoming road trip that we begin this week. Little Man is putting his gear together with his dad and I am updating my iPod . There will need to be lots of music (I’m thinking Chilli Peppers and Arcade Fire may dominate this week) and things to entertain us (7 hrs of This American Life podcasts), while we both withdraw from constant internet/tv stimulation. I know, trading one drug for anther, but we will be in a car for a long time! It’s a 15 hr drive to Jackson Hole. We hope to see some bison in Montana, en route, stop when we want, and get in to town by Sunday night.
After I drop off Little Man with his group on Monday, I’m on my own. Right now, I’m giddy with anticipation. The idea of getting out of my house and out of the mire that has dominated of late, is so exciting that I feel as if my blood is carbonated! However, no doubt, once I say goodbye to Little Man, I’ll have to actually figure out what I want to do with myself. It’s not that I have any reservations about the saying goodbye. I’m not one of those movie moms who is getting all maudlin about letting her baby go. I know he’s ready (even if he doesn’t know it yet) and I’m definitely ready as well. How will I spend the time? (And how much time?) As stated previously, some hiking, lots of writing, some reading and sightseeing… but then what? I’ve never been one to avoid eating alone in restaurants, going to events (did someone say rodeo!), or spending time on my own… but how much of me can I take? One of my favorite sayings seems appropriate right now: You can’t handle my undivided attention! Can I handle my undivided attention?
Now that it’s sunk in around the house that mom is actually doing this (“we thought you were kidding!”), everyone’s taking a little more notice. No doubt, there are wagers that I’m just being passive aggressive, out to make a point… that I’ll be home within a few days. Someone’s gonna lose that wager. I feel a little like I did right after I impulsively bought tickets (solo) to Africa a few years ago and then took off 4 days later… with a last minute hotel reservation, plans up in the air and no real idea how I would spend the 2 weeks… aside from the two days when I would meet up with my then 17 yo daughter, who was there for 4 mths. I hit send on line, bought the tickets and then panicked. But what an adventure I had! No doubt, Yellowstone will not be anything like the airport in Johannesburg, but I definitely feel a familiar buzz, a whisper of nerves, a restless adrenaline fueled excitement to… go.
I’ve figured out, these last few years, that I am not meant to be the Martha Stewart version of mom. I can do it all that well, and have for years. I just don’t want to keep all those balls in the air anymore! I NEED to be out there in the world and get my fix of adventure, independence and solitude. For me, solitude may come at a rodeo or pow wow. The point is to be removed from the roles I play at home and in my social groups, a break from performing, in every sense. It becomes to easy to fill the role of “designated bitch” (see previous posts) when that’s the performance everyone is paying to see. To be the funny, outrageous one at a book group or social gathering because others expect it and I’m most comfortable in that spot. To fill in the spots that are familiar in my day to day life… it’s what I do naturally. But, after a while, I get tired of it all and I just want to be alone and quiet… even if my surroundings are not. I want to be stimulated by the world around me and not be the stimulant.
So, we’re packing. For Little Man that’s all kinds of high tech equipment and camp gear. He’ll take 2 pair of shorts, 3 t shirts, 5 underwear (as if any of those 12 boys will change their underwear very often!), some basic toiletries, etc. I need to think about my iPod, a couple of good books, a big bag of hot tamales, some grapefruits, vodka and tonic for watching the stars at night, my laptop to write on, and some clothes and comfort items. I haven’t even researched the area yet, wanting to just free fall in to the experience. Little Man’s afraid of the potential grizzly bears, I’m dying to see one. Like the lion is to Kruger, it is why you go to Yellowstone. So bring it on! Get me out of here! I’m ready to detox on all levels. Who knows, I might figure out that I just want to be back home sooner than I imagined. Maybe I’ll miss the roles that I’ve been starring in for all these years. Miss the predictability of dirty dishes in the sink, shoes in the middle of the floor, snarky comments and rolled eyes… but somehow, I doubt it.