Before all my surgeries, I loved driving. Just about anywhere. Just about anytime. Trips large and small are things of joy for me. I love the dreamy anticipation of reaching the destination while driving there, the pure joy in living in the moment once I've arrived at my desired place, and then having the time to quietly reflect on the memory just made in the car on the way back. How could I not love that kind of magic? It is the purest form of combined experience and reflection all rolled up into one. My son, Max, and I used to take "Mom and Max Trips" a lot before I had all these surgeries that have prevented me from driving myself places for far too long now. Every time we went somewhere, just the two of us, we announced that we were taking a Mom and Max Trip and reveled in the opportunity to bond for a while without anyone else. I've begun the tentative (and not fearless) process of driving myself places, alone, again as of a few months ago. I cried the first time I did it, so overwhelmed by the experience of that independence and freedom again. I still don't venture out too far alone because my muscles that keep me upright get taxed very easily, and sitting for long periods without being able to recline is still way harder than I'd like. I've written about that before, so I won't belabor it here. But I am improving, and I'm able to do more and more all the time. I drive to work downtown, to doctor's appointments, and to physical therapy alone now with good frequency, which I call a gigantic victory and a huge step in the right direction.
This morning, something beautiful happened in a moment that for most people would risk being simply mundane. You see, this morning, we were out of coffee. Which could have been a bummer or an annoyance. But it wasn't. There's a Starbucks a little over a mile from my house, so I decided to make a run to Starbucks to fulfill my selfish need. Plus I have had a Starbucks gift card in my wallet for quite a while that needed using. So I threw on some shoes and a bra, tamed my ridiculously large curly mop of hair a tiny bit, and kept on my PJs and decided it was time. Time for a Mom and Max Trip. It was a short trip, but I hoped he would be excited, not really about the hot chocolate I was going to buy him, but about the mere happening of a Mom and Max Trip. And he was. He was literally jumping for joy. He didn't want me to take Dad's car, even though it was first out in the driveway. Nope. He wanted to ride in Mom's car because that's the car we always used for Mom and Max Trips. So we backed out the other car and took mine. We rolled the windows down, and I put on my sunglasses and some upbeat Saturday morning music. On the way to Starbucks, he recounted to me his memories of prior Mom and Max trips, especially the ones where I took him to swimming lessons at the Y when Eva was a baby, which is when he discovered he loved Somebody I Used to Know by Gotye, which is still his very favorite song. At Starbucks, I let him take off his seatbelt and carefully procure the cups from the drive-through window as he stood leaning out the back window. When we'd secured everything in cup holders (without spilling anything, thankfully, because I only told him about five times to be so careful because they were sooo hot), and he was buckled up again, on our way home, he said this: "Mom, I want to tell you something. I love you more than video games. And you know how much I love video games." The whole way home, we talked about how much we loved each other (it's about a five minute drive, but a very precious five minutes, obviously). And he said as we neared our house, "Mom, I will always want to take Mom and Max Trips with you. Every time you ever ask me if I want to take a Mom and Max trip, do you know what I'll say? YES!" I, too, will always and forever want to take Mom and Max Trips. And I wanted to write this all down to document it so I can remind him when he is a stinky teenager and I ask him to go somewhere with me and he would rather hang out with his stinky friends or his girlfriend (who I'm sure will be lovely) that he said he would always say YES to Mom and Max Trips. But somehow, despite the teenage years, which will be here before I know it, I have a feeling I won't have to remind him.