Today I had a few hours when my babe was at school. Although my to-do list was a mile long, I had a load of laundry in the wash, dishes in the sink…for some reason I put my windows down, put some Eric Church on Spotify, and just drove. I drove all around rural Queen Creek, first of all wondering how this city girl ended up way out here in farmland. But then really starting wondering about how I ended up here.
Of course, the drive home from the hospital with your baby is a common huge moment that is often written about and photographed. But the true first drive with my daughter was the one I did with her by myself. She was about ten days old. It was such an emotional hurdle. I remember planning “Ok, I’m going to get a drive through Diet Coke on Wednesday.” Well, Wednesday came around. I packed her into her carseat and snapped her into the base. I’m a McDonald’s Diet Coke person but on this “first drive,” McDonald’s was half a mile too far so off to the closest place-Burger King- we went. It was the most emotionally draining drive of my life. But we survived! Gosh, in the four and a half years since that drive, life certainly has been good.
Moments in my journey as a mother have often been defined by my Monday-Friday routine. We went from quiet, intimate days at home just the two of us to totally venturing out to a baby music class one day a week. That drive to and from music class involved so much preparation ahead of time and planning her feedings and changes. That morphed into swim classes & music & playdates-we were so busy and social! I smile just thinking about how much more time in the car we spent than at the actual activity. Life was good.
The next season of motherhood, we packed our first home up and moved across the valley. Driving away with my daughter and my puppy while my husband followed us is one my strongest memories of motherhood. I was equally hopeful for a new beginning and so very scared to be starting fresh. I was so worried and concerned that I had to have her room set up so she wouldn’t skip a beat during this transition. It was the longest drive across town, with way too much time to think. My sweet 18 month old went to sleep soundly in a perfectly unpacked room that night, and life certainly was good.
Another drive I made was that from the airport to meet my brand new nephew back East. At this point, traveling with the babe had become second nature, but without fail there is some serious exhaustion and tension after a cross-country flight. My husband and I were so very excited to see my brother and his wife, hold the baby and all be together as a family. I didn’t expect to be nervous but that drive was just long enough to conjure up so very many feelings. Immense love for this new chapter as aunt and uncle, concern for the stressful few months a newborn brings, and guilt for living so far from this little tiny baby that was now a party of our lives forever. As soon as we wrapped our arms around that little guy, the worries of that drive melted away. Life was so good.
Yesterday we enrolled our one & only daughter in Kindergarten. Yet again, our Monday-Friday routine will change immensely. I drove over to new school and wondered what life will be like this summer when she walks through those doors. I sat in the parking lot thinking about all the different moments we’ve shared. All the pride that I have for the little lady she is turning into. All the exhaustion, all the work, all the laughter that has gone into motherhood. No doubt, come August…that drive to school will be a memorable moment for this mama.
Life is good.