Maddy felt worse so we cancelled the remaining trips to Rhode Island and Vermont and headed home from Hartford early Friday morning. She spread out across the back seat, sleeping and watching movies while I drove uneventful, I-84 west across New York and then straight down I-81, through Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee. Some crap food, an hilarious moment running out of gas (relishing my brand new Rav4 I just forgot to eye the gauge. I was delighted to learn AAA would rescue me from such idiocy. Maddy did several exasperated eye-rolls, but I spied a smile.)
It was a gorgeous blue-sky day, without agenda or impediment, just settled in an anciently familiar road trip zen. Long drives offer me unparalleled silence, a chance to think or not think, to count my life's blessings, glance softly at the scenery, or indulgently repeat my favorite song or book excerpt over and over again. Maddy's always in the back, with her blanket & pillow, earphones blaring Little Mermaid or Seinfeld or the newest Radiohead. At dusk we ate meatloaf, green beans, and fresh berry pie at the Mountain View restaurant and watched the almost-full moon rise up over the back hill. It carried us along the rest of the way, big and white across the indigo sky, and made the 14 hours fly effortlessly by. Finally home, John, Alden, and the dogs greeted us so boisterously I almost forgot my looming sense that these road trips are soon to end.
Truth is, my heart will shatter the day my daughter leaves home. But I'm assuming the shards will reshape into a glorious new sculpture.