Recently, I went on a road trip with two lady friends. A long weekend spent being a groupie for the band, Trial By Fire. My friend’s son, and a young man I have known since he was a baby, is a member. We had a great time, but quickly realized staying up until the early hours of the morningwas tough work. We were no longer the college students partying away our stress over upcoming finals. Instead, we were three older woman escaping the confines of our daily lives. Our getaway was a needed escape from being the caregiver for a very ill spouse and the sudden, unexpected, responsibility of a mother and nephew. I was the one that had no true commitments. In February I had passed the one year anniversary of my dementia bound mother’s death, and with that, a release to determine what I want to do with the rest of my life.
We three adventurers set out on a journey deemed, Moms Gone Wild. But, how wild can you get in a mini-van? The first night earplugs were distributed so that we could all attempt a good night’s sleep. On Friday we awoke and piled back into our vehicle for a six hour drive. We arrived in Greensboro, North Carolina in time to have a beer while the band set up and did a sound check. I got a thrill of boastful pride when we told the bartender we were related to one of the musicians. That night at the show, with the music thrumming in our chests and the crowd clapping and screaming encouragement to the rock group, we decided to celebrate with a jello-shot. We couldn’t resist as the somewhat solidified alcohol came in a huge syringe. I’ve been in bars before where a band was playing. But, this was different. I delighted in watching the crowd watch our favorite band member. I pondered on how it must feel to be on stage and realize I was bringing such fun to the crowd. What a rush it must be. The night finally ended, for us at least, as we made our way to our beds around 2 a.m. On Saturday afternoon, after two more hours of driving we landed in Charlotte, North Carolina and began the whole process again.
Along the journey, of our weekend away, the three of us shared many thoughts. We reflected on the circumstances of our lives. It never occurred to any of us to complain about what life had thrown our way. Instead, we accepted the obligations and knew we would not do anything differently. Still, that does not mean we did not question what the future would hold and how that now would be so different from what we had envisioned. Yet, we understood we are not unlike so many of our generation, taking on the care of aging parents just when we were ready to enjoy empty nest adventures with our spouse. Or perhaps, as my one friend, realizing those golden years will never come for her and her husband.
That is why this weekend away was just what the doctor would have ordered if prescriptions can be written for such an excursion. A few days in which we came close to reliving our youth; the one that seemed so burdened at the time and, as we have come to understand, no where near that complicated. During the weekend the three of us spent the days enjoying the warmth of the southern sun and hanging in bars with the band at night.
But real life rushed in and on Monday we made the grueling 15 hour endurance test back to our homes. I awoke Tuesday feeling disoriented and exhausted, only to look out the window to an inch of snow on the ground. Welcome back to reality.