Raising kids is the most rewarding privilege, honor a parent could ever have.
And after years of feeding, clothing, teaching them right from wrong and saying their prayers with the stories before lights out, you never lose the worrying part. Because you love them. Family is the top priority no matter what. You, the Maine village, other family members, the teachers, sports coaches, pastor… all helped shape them into young adults. And would do anything to keep them out of harm’s way even after they leave home.
You sometimes forget just how attached, connected, much you actually worry about kids who have left the nest when they return for a stint.
The volume of that tug of the heart glows ET brighter. The two boys were able to work a couple weeks of Maine potato harvest this fall before both bee lined, headed due west to Colorado. And with a loaded up red jeep called Sally that four kids developed their earliest driving skills in, the pair headed down Interstate 95. And in Howland Maine in the highway darkness met up, tangled with a black bear. No other cars, no property damage but Sally took a hit. The bear had had better days too. Probably won’t forget the rendezvous. The dance spin into the back door of the jeep after kissing the front corner of the Grand Cherokee chartered for Colorado.
So back to home base, regroup, down size the cargo freight weight for the heading west mission. Shoe horn, hop in the teeny tiny t roof black Del Sol Honda. All waxed, fluids checked, waiting and ready to be whipped into service when the call to the used car bull pen came in.
The thought of boy I am so glad that thump from the Maine black bear that took out the front driver’s side fender, rear passenger door, one headlight eye and half the bumper did not cause the vehicle to roll.
Skid out of control. Go end over end with gruesome results to the most precious cargo, the two brothers. As a parent you think for a moment of wheel chairs, hospital beep beep monitors and aluminum flip charts, funeral homes, visiting hours. And thank God, count our blessings instead. Because a little sheet metal can be fixed. Kids can not be replaced. You could never hammer out that hole in the heart left in the rest of the family, small Maine community that had a hand in the building of a young grasshopper into a young adult.
As they head west in the shuttle not the Starship Sally Enterprise. With nightly calls, daily texts and using the communicator to beam in. Determine just exactly where they are now on the big USA GPS map along the way. And tie in those coordinates with lap top, tag teaming with James T Kirk. To help find the best for the least. A motel room near I-70 for once they’ve had enough collecting mile markers. The gong sounds. Signalling the end of the long driving day.
To shift into sleep mode after putting on the feedbag for something not dropped out of a rest area, service center vending machine.
The head to bed for the night and some much needed shut eye, Zzzzz’s manufacture. Getting off the highway just in time to stretch out, relax. See the Red Sox lose to the Tigers last night by 1-0 in the opener of the playoffs. Darn.
Growing up, when you crack the door to their rooms after the nightly ritual of getting them ready for bed. To check in, make sure they are warm, covered. Pick up the caught trying to escape stuffed animal or their special, high mileage blanket off the floor. And with a peck on the cheek to stand back. To take a one by one last glimpse of the miracle, wonderment of having a quiver full of kids. That you would do anything to protect.
Glad Sally got the boys through the head on with a hard charging Maine black bear.
And with the help of local parts providers, a skilled auto body man wearing a mask, with a pry bar in one hand, a paint gun in the other she will get the wrinkles removed. To be tip top, ship shape and ready for another adventure when any of the kids come home. Need a rig to throw a canoe on the top to head to Baxter for a hike, some paddling, camping under the stars.
We Mainers get attached to our vehicles because we hang on to them, take care of them and they are involved in major chunks of our life. Not traded every year for something new, shiny and that come saddled with a heavy payment booklet to boot. Small town Maine living is so so vastly different than the approach to life living in the concrete urban jungle.
Sally’s in sick bay, taking a pit stop. She, I will be waiting, on stand by until that moment of a kid’s return happens. When the children’s path brings them back to their Maine hometown. To be safe and sound in their original beds. Maine, it’s all about family. It starts, ends with the most sacred institution that affects, influences all the rest of life’s journey.